In light of recent crimes occurring on or near campus, Chancellor Conoley announced the formation of a task force designed to improve safety at UC Riverside.

In an email sent out to UC Riverside students on Feb. 14, Conoley said that she wants the task force to examine current activities in order to make recommendations about further measures that will ensure student safety on campus.

The task force will be led by Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Business Operations Chuck Rowley. It will also include interested representatives from ASUCR, Staff Assembly, UCPD, the Riverside Police Department, Transportation and Parking Services and other groups.

Robberies have become regular occurrences on campus. Just last month, eight robberies and thefts were reported all around the university—some of them involving handguns.

The task force was set to try to prevent criminal activity from regularly occurring on campus grounds.

The idea of a task force on campus safety had been raised by ASUCR Vice President of Internal Affairs Kevin Jo. He started an online petition, which has garnered nearly 100 signatures within the first week. The petition asked for Chancellor Conoley to create a task force that will prioritize campus safety measures.

Some of the possible solutions mentioned in the petition included more escort services, adequate lighting for the campus, and increases in police patrols, emergency boxes and surveillance cameras.

“I am not too sure how much of an influence [the petition] played in getting the task force created because I received the same email everyone else did when Chancellor Conoley announced the creation of the task force,” Jo told the Highlander. “However, since the petition was mentioned in the email, I am assuming it did play a role.”

Jo went on to discuss what he hopes this task force will accomplish.

“During my years here as a student, I’ve always received the UCPD emails and I don’t expect there to be absolutely no crime but the last couple months have really tested this campus and how we react to incidents like these,” said Jo. “The fact that campus administration is coming together to address these issues in the form of a task force is a huge step forward to innovating safety on and near campus.”

Conoley wrote in her email, “Already UC Riverside is proactively focused on prevention of crime and keeping our campus and surrounding area safe.” She also informed students that they are welcome to propose more ideas to the task force.

Conoley ended her message by assuring students that she will remain actively involved in promoting a safe campus climate. No word yet on when the proposed changes to campus safety will take effect.