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UMB Police and Public Safety answers frequently asked questions.

When will (or won’t) I receive a UMB Alert?

UMB Alerts is a system used to notify the UMB community about emergencies and weather-related closings. The alerts can be sent by text, email, campus phone, Mobile UMB app, social media, and the UMB website.

UMB Police and Public Safety and UMB Office of Emergency Management send alerts in compliance with the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to send an emergency notification for an imminent threat to the health and safety of the UMB community. For serious or continuing threats, UMB Police and Public Safety will send a “timely warning,” which is often sent as a Letter from the Chief to the Community

When a crime occurs on campus, UMB Police and Public Safety uses a flow chart to determine whether to send a UMB Alert, timely warning, or not to send a notification. This decision is based on factors such as the location of the incident, whether suspects were apprehended, whether there is an imminent threat to the community, and more. These alerts are also sent for non-crime emergencies, such as tornado alerts, hazmat situations, and more.

Deciding to send a UMB Alert is a delicate balance between keeping our community safe and informed and preventing “alert fatigue.” We want to ensure that our community pays attention to these alerts and doesn’t ignore or mute this life-saving emergency notification system because they’re inundated with information.

While UMB remains one of the safest areas in Downtown Baltimore to live, work, and learn, crime does occur. Remember: For imminent threats to the community, you will receive a UMB Alert. For a serious or continuing threat, you will receive a letter. For incidents occurring off-campus that do not pose a life-threatening risk to our UMB community, we encourage you to find updates from Baltimore’s local news and other trusted sources.

Why is the UMB Alert taking so long?

In an emergency, it might feel like it’s taking forever to receive a UMB Alert. This wait can cause questions and frustration in the absence of immediate information. What’s the holdup?

Before a UMB Alert is sent, a “responsible authority” (associate vice president for public safety and chief of police, executive director of emergency management, or their designee) must first confirm the threat. This prevents misinformation and false alerts. However, this can also cause delays while emergency responders rush to the scene to confirm what’s happening.

Sending the UMB Alert also requires the sender to log in to the system from their computer or phone and sometimes to craft the message before sending it. Getting to a computer, writing the message, and ensuring message accuracy can also cause delays.

UMB has pre-scripted templates that can be sent more quickly. In an active assailant or other time-sensitive emergency, this generic message may be the first alert you receive. You will receive updated UMB Alerts as more information becomes available.

In an emergency, do not wait for a UMB Alert before you act. Take the Preparedness Pro training series to learn how to prepare for and respond to emergencies. 

Why does the alert say there is “no increased threat” if a crime was committed?

Our UMB police officers are highly trained to identify whether an incident that occurs on campus poses an increased threat to our community. We have a dedicated Public Safety team that works around the clock to keep crime low on campus. Our data-driven policing strategies have proven effective. UMB remains one of the safest places to live, work, and learn in Downtown Baltimore.

No matter the location, the risk of crime is never zero. We work with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to identify credible threats that may impact UMB. When these credible or known threats could impact our community, we pass that information on to you.

The intent of this statement is to let our community know that they should continue to follow basic safety practices as they would every day, but we have not identified an increased threat because of the incident. Our investigation may have concluded that the suspect has left campus, was apprehended, or the incident was targeted.

UMB Alerts are intended to increase your awareness and keep you informed. We know that an unintended consequence of these UMB Alerts is increased fear in our community. That is never our intent. We do our best to balance information, tips, and resources to empower our community to take action and keep themselves safe. In the event of an ongoing threat to our community, we will always let you know.

Where do I get public safety information?

UMB Police and Public Safety communicates regularly through multiple channels. Find public safety updates:

And don’t forget to learn about the UMB Office of the Fire Marshal, our newest office in UMB Police and Public Safety!



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