Friday, November 03, 2006

Maroon: Campus BB-gun shooting

By Blake Rachowin

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Shots were fired at several Hyde Park residents on South Ellis Avenue near East 58th Street at 7:37 p.m. on October 31, raising serious concerns about campus security.

No one was hurt or injured, and U of C police officers who were already surveying the area quickly captured the shooter.

The suspect has been charged with two misdemeanor crimes stemming from the shooting, which was with a BB gun.

The officers also apprehended the suspect’s sister, who was driving the vehicle used to chase the victims down. She was charged with minor traffic violations.

A third passenger exited the vehicle and escaped the scene without being arrested, said Rudolph Nimocks, chief of the U of C Police Department (UCPD).

The shooting follows several incidents of armed theft and assault on and near campus. These recent crimes have increased student safety concerns.

First-year Tiffany Kwak saw the perpetrators flee the scene of the shooting.

“I’ve never feared for my safety as much as I did then,” Kwak said. “Recently, with all the crime around campus, I have been especially aware of my surroundings.”

University and community officials said the crimes are isolated and not part of a larger trend. Bob Mason, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, said Hyde Park has one of the lowest crime rates in all of Chicago.

“On campus, University police work in conjunction with Chicago police,” he said. “Intense and diligent police controls are the only way of preventing crimes against students.”

Nonetheless, sporadic crime on campus is inevitable, said Duel Richardson, director of Neighborhood Relations.

“This is an urban campus and random acts of violence are to be expected,” he said. “Crime can happen anywhere or anytime.”

Nimocks said students need to be aware of their environment at all times.
“There’s always a concern when any crime is committed on campus,” he said. “Students need to watch their surroundings and avoid distractions while walking.”

The openness of the U of C campus allows outside individuals, such as the perpetrators of these recent crimes, to gain access, Richardson said.

“There is a cost to this freedom [of an open campus],” Mason said. “But I’m sure most wouldn’t want to gate the campus off. Nobody wants to live in a totalitarian police state.”

Kwak said she realized that stopping all crime in an urban setting is impossible.

“There is no way to patrol every inch of campus and prevent every crime,” she said. “I’m certainly not in Kansas anymore.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kwak said she realized that stopping all crime in an urban setting is impossible.

Not for nothin', but stopping all crime in any setting is impossible. Urban, suburban, out in the sticks... They can't be everywhere.

The job of police is not to stop crime, it's to investigate afterwards and hopefully catch the perpetrators. In fact, it has come out in court (a D.C. case, possibly, I can't recall the specifics at the moment. Maybe Chicago.) that it's not the job of the police to protect any individual.

BTW, when I think of any college campus, "safe" is not the first word to spring to mind. Female students have pretty much always gotten the short end of the stick security-wise on college campuses, because not only do you have outsiders to deal with (force fields don't work), but there are predators among the student body. Anyone who goes through college in a haze like that is in for a rude awakening.