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Several security changes, including the addition of a regular "study shuttle" by Escort Service, are scheduled to take effect today. The modifications were prompted by increases in violent crime this semester. The University announced the specifics of the changes Friday, including a schedule for the study shuttle, a new University Police emergency phone number, locations for improved lighting on campus and times for free self-defense clinics. Several University departments approved these measures late last month after Students Together Against Acquaintance Rape demanded security improvements. STAAR's request was prompted by a rash of armed robberies near campus and an incident in which a student was seriously injured when a van ran over her during a robbery attempt. The changes, organized by the University Council Safety and Security Committee, are designed to complement recent increases in police patrols. University Police over the last few weeks have added new patrol routes in the blocks just west of campus. And last week, police doubled police coverage in the night and early-morning hours -- forcing many officers to work 12 hours a day, six days a week -- after a string of stabbings and the attempted robbery of two plainclothes police officers. Safety and Security Co-chairperson Jeffrey Jacobson, a College junior, said the changes his committee orchestrated are intended to "combat the fear side of the problem." The changes should make it easier for students to avoid becoming victims of violent crimes, he said. The new "study shuttle" will be similar to one offered last year during reading and exam period. From Sunday to Thursday, an Escort Service van will make three runs from Van Pelt Library, staggered between three runs from Steinberg-Dietrich Hall. The van will leave Van Pelt at 10 p.m., 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. It will leave Steinberg-Dietrich at 11 p.m., 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, the 1 a.m. run from Steinberg-Dietrich will be the last. Normal door-to-door Escort Service will continue as usual. Jacobson said the new University Police emergency number should be easier to remember than the old number, 898-7333. The new number, 573-3333, is much simpler and will be available by Wednesday, Jacobson said. Both numbers will connect to University Police. Students living on-campus can still dial 511 to reach campus police. The 511 number will automatically alert police to the location of the call. The other numbers will not. The University has also planned to add new lighting for the area between Spruce and Walnut streets on 40th Street. The University Police's Victim Support and Security Services division will offer free self-defense clinics starting this week. The clinics do not require pre-registration and are open to students, faculty and staff.

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