By Brennan Sullivan
In recent weeks, there has been a flare up of robberies occurring near Roosevelt’s downtown Chicago campus. The incidents have involved not only RU students but those from Columbia College as well. The Campus Safety department has sent out multiple alerts via email to keep students safe and aware of what’s going on.
The department sent out three emails describing the events, and another on Nov. 27 to make students aware that Chicago police have caught and arrested two of the suspected offenders.
“The incidents involved college students and were very nearby so we thought it was important to send immediate notices out and let our community know,” said the Director of Campus Safety at Roosevelt, Maureen Froncek. Since the release of that last report, Froncek says that they have been notified by the police that they arrested another three suspects involved in the robberies, and are planning to arrest three more.
Director Froncek noted that because of the recent events, the Chicago Police Department and nearby campus safety departments have upped their surveillance and foot patrol near campus. One Chicago officer, she says, was a former Roosevelt student and campus safety officer and has made a personal effort to check in on the student body and faculty when she’s nearby. Also, a city-wide higher education organization called SCOPE, the Security Council of Professional Educators, met on Thursday, Nov. 30 to exchange ideas on how both the universities and Chicago police department can help each other prevent future incidents.
One of the victims from the first robbery that occurred on November 8 said that after working with officers to find the offenders her perception of the Chicago Police Department has changed significantly.
“Now I feel safe when I see them around the city and I actually respect them a lot more than I did before. They’ve been proactive about our case which makes me feel a lot more safe,” she said.
She also wanted to share the positive help she received from the counseling office post-incident. She said that the counselors in the office reached out to her and the other two people who were involved in the robbery and made assisting them a key priority.
Within the reports released to the community, there was also a list of precautions which they encourage for Roosevelt students to keep in mind while they are out at night or if they are involved in an attack.
One suggestion is to “always maintain a state of awareness of individuals around you and your surrounding.”
The Assistant Director of Campus Safety, Mike Pizana, said he often sees people attentively involved in their phone or with earbuds in which puts them at a higher risk for being offended. Overall, he advised to “…listen to your gut. It it’s telling you something doesn’t feel right, go with it. Nine out of ten times, it’s correct.”
On Dec. 7, two tourists in the Chicago Loop reported they have been robbed at knifepoint. Police said the two had falsified and lied about their statements. The two tourists have been charged with filing a false report.
Roosevelt’s Campus Safety urged people to stay safe. They said to always be careful of your surroundings, report suspicious activity, to travel in groups and to call 911 immediately.