CHIRP-360 offers U of M students new way to report safety concerns near campus

CHIRP-360 offers U of M students new way to report safety concerns near campus

CHIRP-360 offers U of M students new way to report safety concerns near campus

There is a new way to report concerns about safety near the University of Minnesota.

An online platform called CHIRP-360 went live this week, allowing people to submit incident reports to a team of licensed investigators.

This new initiative was coordinated by the non-profit Campus Safety Coalition, which is made up of thousands of students, parents and community members concerned about crime on and around campus.

Campus Safety Coalition is contracting with 360 Security Services to utilize this new tool.

360 Security Services is an investigations, cybersecurity and risk management company, started by former U.S. Secret Service Agent Mike Olson, who lives in Minnesota.

He said CHIRP-360 has been used by schools, non-profits and other entities nationwide over the last two years.

“It’s modeled after the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center. If everybody bands together and reports on things, we stand a much greater chance of getting good information that then can help inform the appropriate people to create better strategies for safety and security,” Olson said.

Olson noted the University of Minnesota community is unique because it crosses multiple jurisdictions.

The campus itself is governed by the University and UMN Department of Public Safety, while nearby Dinkytown, where many students live, falls under the jurisdiction of the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Police Department.

Olson said some students have been confused about which entity to report issues to, while others are hesitant to contact law enforcement in general.

“It truly is a ‘Swiss cheese’ environment, with a lot of holes,” Olson said. “And if people aren’t reporting things, then they’re not designing their strategies or response around these things that are happening.”

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has extensively covered concerns about crime in Dinkytown over the last few years, from a deadly shooting last month to fireworks damaging property last summer to a 2022 shootout in an alley.

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety provided this statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, in response to the launch of CHIRP-360:

“While we appreciate community efforts to increase awareness and assist public safety, we want to reiterate that we encourage people to continue bringing public safety concerns directly to UMPD by calling, texting, emailing or coming to the department in-person. Anonymous reporting is also possible, including through the University’s U Reports system. We also want to remind people that they should call 9-1-1 to report an emergency or crime.”

Olson said CHIRP-360 is not meant to replace 911 for reporting emergencies, but instead offer an alternate reporting channel for incidents like concerning behavior, threats and suspicious groups of people frequenting the area.

“The information is important because what we’ll see behind the scenes is if there’s a recurring trend starting to develop,” Olson said. “We want to make sure this information is compiled and is, in fact, acted upon and followed up on.”

The reports that come in through CHIRP-360 are fielded by Olson’s team, which includes retired federal officers, criminal analysts, military members and data experts.

He said reports will be forwarded to the authorities if needed or investigated privately when appropriate.

“We don’t know what we don’t know, so this is an opportunity for everybody in the community to get involved,” Olson said. “It’s really just empowering the community to take action when they see something.”

To learn more about CHIRP-360 or report an incident through the new online portal, click here.