SafeHorns is a non-profit organization comprised of concerned parents, students, stakeholders, and citizens committed to improving safety at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) and surrounding neighborhoods where students live. The on-campus sexual assault and murder of UT Austin Freshman Haruka Weiser, in April 2016 opened the eyes of students and parents to deficiencies in safety and security on and around campus leading to the creation of SafeHorns later that year.
SafeHorns identified safety shortfalls on campus including lighting and call boxes; researched and advocated for golf carts on campus for safe late night travel; and donated $2,400 to Sure Walk to support the purchase of additional carts. Additionally, SafeHorns successfully lobbied the Austin City Council to include West Campus (WC) as part of the city’s Homeless Outreach Street Team.
May 1, 2017, UT Austin Freshman, Harrison Brown, was fatally stabbed and three others injured in an on-campus assault. This tragedy resulted in SafeHorns creating the “Report for Harrison” campaign, designed to highlight the need to report all crimes immediately.
SafeHorns successfully championed a three-year effort for Austin to improve lighting in WC, the most densely populated area of the city and where the majority of UT Austin students live. Two studies later, the city approved a funded plan in 2019 to bring lighting in WC up to code.
SafeHorns fosters and promotes a positive relationship among UT Austin students and the University of Texas Police Department and the Austin Police Department through annual events including National Night Out, Queso with a Cop, and Pizza with Police. Efforts continue towards improved communication as it relates to student notifications of crime on and around the campus and a Faculty, Staff, Student and Significant Other Opt-In immediately following initial crisis text alert.
SafeHorns is committed to improving the safety for UT Austin students, faculty, staff, and visitors on and around campus through on-going advocacy, strategic planning, and implementation.
Joell Darnell McNew