Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How to use SafeRide, sign up for calert for University type people

The SafeRide, late-night transportation service is now available at 10 p.m.
Please call 773-702-2022 to arrange for a trip to and from anywhere in the UCPD coverage area:
North to 39th Street, south to 64th Street
East to Lake Shore Drive, west to Cottage Grove Avenue
SafeRide is available until 4 a.m. Sunday - Thursday nights and 6 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

Note, the SafeRide van is in addition to the Evening Bus Service and Umbrella Service (e..g being shadowed by UCPD, call 702-8181).

My experience with all of these services (so far) is that none of them ask for a university ID.

Also, I've been at the University for four years, obviously always reading about security, and was never told how to sign up for the Calert (text and voice message security alert) system.

Unfortunately, you MUST be a university member with a CNET ID to use the system. Go to:

What type of Shuttle system does the University need?

A reader has contributed the following post. It is particularly relevant in light of the University's pledge to assess and improve the SafeRide system:

...my fiancĂ©e told me about the Amadou Cisse’s shooting last night. Lev lives around 56th Street and South Cottage Grove and was mugged just after he moved in in September, and we’ve been in shock how dangerous the neighborhood is and how little the University does to protect students—especially graduate students, who tend of live on the edges of the campus neighborhood where it’s less safe and who also are more likely to work long hours.

What do you think we can do to encourage the University to create a better shuttle system to drop students off? I’m not talking about having a police officer walk you home, which few are inclined to do (and few males)—but a frequent, available service that students could rely on. All other universities I’ve been to have this.

In New York, where I live, we have a very successful non-profit called Right Rides (www.rightrides.org), where volunteers drive women home between 12-3 on Saturday nights. It goes a long way to create a sense of community and to make people feel safe. Maybe someone within the university could start some kind of volunteer program like this, and then the university would catch on and create a better shuttle service. In any case, it’s a good model for people to know about. I was also at Princeton recently where we took a shuttle where the driver/navigator were logging work-study hours, which also had a good feel because students were helping other students. Of course the University needs to step up to the plate here, but getting students involved in helping each other does the community psychological good.

If you know of any community meetings where people are discussing this, or if you know of people in the University administration we should be writing to, we’d really appreciate the info.

Feel free to post this on your blog if it’s helpful.


Two Hyde Park Residents

University adds vans, substation, appeals to Mayor Daley

University president Zimmer sent an email about its security response to Amadou's murder:
-The police substation at 61st and Drexel is now open.
-Two vans have been added to the SafeRide program. The hours for the SafeRide program have been expanded to begin at 10 p.m. Phone lines have been added to ensure that callers will be able to reach a dispatcher with their pickup request.
Comment: The university needs to communicate more clearly what the SafeRide is, and how to use it. They should also add a web or text-message interface to request SafeRide.
-A Working Group on Safety and Security will be co-chaired by Kim Goff-Crews, Vice President and Dean of Students in the University, and Rick Rosengarten, Dean of the Divinity School and current Chair of the Committee on Crime Prevention and Security on Campus and in the Neighborhood. The group will review policing, transportation, lighting, and dissemination of information; solicit ideas for improving campus safety; and make recommendations about additional improvements we should undertake.
-The University has hired an external security firm to conduct a thorough review of security measures.
-UCPD Chief Rudy Nimocks has been working closely with Chicago Police Superintendent Dana Starks, and the Chicago Police Department also has increased its patrols in the neighborhoods near campus.
-President Zimmerman will be meeting with Mayor Richard M. Daley to ask for his support in finding ways to further reduce crime in our community.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Armed robbery at 57th and Kimbark

This safety alert arrived at 2:10 PM on the 23rd:
At 12:49 a.m., Friday, November 23, on Kimbark Avenue near 57th Street, two men were walking when two other men came from behind, displayed handguns, demanded and took the victims' valuables, and fled. Police are investigating.
Over 13 hours for the Safety Awareness Alert to be sent to subscribers. Although, as the University police chief pointed out, most of the crimes are one-offs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Latest updates on Hyde Park murder, related crimes, victim

We are continually updating our original posts about these tragic events as we learn more.

More information about the life of Amadou Cisse, a collection of memories, and information about memorial events have now been added to the original post.

Additional details about the three crimes of that evening have been compiled, including a photo of the car potentially used by the assailants (updated Nov. 21 8 AM).

After attending last night's press release, we have written an analysis of the University's response.

We are planning a post about the community response. Please email your thoughts to hydeparkcrime@gmail.com, or post a comment here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

University responds to shootings, murder

By Hyde Park Crime Watch
Last updated 11:55pm November 19

The University of Chicago held a press conference to field questions about the recent murder of
Amadou Cisse and associated crimes. The police believe that the murder resulted after an attempted robbery. The wallet was still on the victim, but there was evidence of a struggle, and his books had been dropped some distance away.

In response, the university stated that they will expand the number of officers patrolling between 55th and 64th after midnight. They will also add an extra van for late night ride service. Students have complained that the service is inadequate. The university will also add a police substation on the South campus in the Woodlawn neighborhood. One student complained that although the university emphasizes all of its safety measures, the university never educates students on just how dangerous the neighborhood can be.

No emergency notification after shootings
Many questions at the meeting surrounded the lack of any use of the emergency notification system to alert students that a crime had occurred. In particular, no warning was issued in the hour between the first shooting and the murder, or after the murder itself. One student asked "what is the use of an emergency notification system if it is not used until the morning after the crime?" The University sent an email at 10:40 AM, and a text message to phones at 11:13 AM.

Several questions reflected the lack of any notification for many crimes that occur. The university representative said that they are reviewing their policy. An audience member also questioned why a working emergency phone is not operating near the area of the murder (it has been disconnected during construction).

A personal comment
Would an emergency email after the first shooting have saved Amadou's life? Very likely. Amadou, like most other students, probably had his email open until he left his office that night. He would have seen a warning email in plenty of time, and would have known to take extra precautions. The university needs to be more vigilant about warning the community about ongoing crime.

In my own experience when I was mugged three years ago, the emergency phone I tried to use was not operational, and no notification was ever sent out about the crime. I only found out about how much crime was going on when I arrived at the police station to view a lineup, and a whole room was filled with people that looked just like me.

As a person who often works late at the University, I have been stuck several times with no transportation options late night during the summer or after 2 AM. Several times I have had to convince the 2AM bus to take me home rather than going off duty. While the University police offers umbrella service, I think many people, including myself, are hesitant to ask a police officer to follow them while they walk 30 minutes to their home.

Remembering Amadou Cisse, 1978-2007

by Hyde Park Crime Watch
Last updated Nov. 25

The University community is mourning the loss of Amadou L. Cisse last night. Amadou was 28 years old. He was an international graduate student from Senegal studying at the University of Chicago. Senegalse officials said Cisse was the son of a deceased military officer. His mother, two brothers and a sister live in Dakar, the nation's capital.

Amadou was a student in Steven Sibener's group in the Chicago Materials Research Center where he studied atomic oxygen erosion. Amadou's doctoral dissertation was entitled "Photodegradation of Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) and Applications in Surface Science and Diffusion Studies". He defended his dissertation on November 1, and completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in chemistry. The University will award him the degree posthumously. As a student, Amadou co-authored several research papers, including Self-Assembly of FePt Nanoparticles on Modified Diblock Copolymer Templates. In 2002 he was awarded the McCormick Fellowship.

Amadou was a chemistry teaching assistant at the University. One student remembered that "he was always trying to get his section to score the highest on the exams, and we usually did because he helped us so much."

Amadou majored in chemistry at Bates College, where he graduated in 2001. One friend who left a comment here described him as "the brightest chemistry student I have ever met."

According to postings he made on the internet, Amadou was interested in contemporary African literature, including works by Mariama Ba. He enjoyed jogging and lifting weights. He was a Muslim who was interested in preserving traditional values of modesty in Senegal. A commenter left a message indicating that he was fluent in several languages, carrying on conversations in French and English at the same time.

"As a Muslim, she [his mother] said that what happened is from God," said Sadio Cissokho, consul general of the Senegalese Embassy in Washington. He said she is awaiting the return of her son's body, which she wants to bury quickly in accordance with Muslim practice.

Memorials to Amadou
If you knew Amadou, we invite you to leave a memory in the comments section. Please email photos you would like to share to hydeparkcrime@gmail.com.

There will be a candlelight vigil at 3:30 tomorrow (Tuesday November 20), hosted by Student Government, in the Central Quad (Rain Location in Kent Lobby).

Remembrances from the Sibener Group
Amadou loved Senegalese music so much, that he recorded it onto tapes from Senegalese radio online. That's why he still had a walkman. He was planning to get an iPod after graduation. His whole life was on hold till after graduation.

Amadou was a teaching assistant for general chemistry several times over the course of his graduate studies. He greatly enjoyed teaching and was very devoted to his students. I think working with students was one of the things he most enjoyed. He was always talking about how to improve his students' understanding of the material and rooting for their success.

He said quantum mechanics was the hardest class he took in graduate school. He used to take the problem sets and struggle all weekend over the problems in the library. He was very proud of having done so well in that class. Toward the end of his time here, he was working on complex diffusion problems, and I think he was happy to be once again spending his time searching through textbooks trying to understand his results. I think this was probably his favorite part of research.

Amadou was a quiet, humble, and kind man as well as a wonderful friend. He will always be remembered for those qualities, his diligence, and his hard-working ways. He was a good man taken from us much too soon. Words cannot express how much we will miss him.

Saffi has written a prayer in memory of Amadou:
Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raji'oon (Indeed everything is from Allah and to Allah we will return)
May Allah enter him into the highest ranks of Jennah among the Shuhadaa, May Allah ease the loss of his family and friends, and May Allah help us to rectify the society which causes such senseless killings.

Memorials emailed to hydeparkcrime
I am very sad seeing the video report the death of Amadou cisse. I’m senegalese leaving in italy i am very chocked by that news. I join my solidarity to his familly, and saying them courage in helding the futur. But police must do their job to find out the killer and justice be done.
Ba insa and familly
I did not know him but I wish to pay homage to a young man that well represented himself, his family and Senegal abroad! May he rest in pace may Allah accept him in his paradise! Amen! Gabriel Sylla(Canada)
May God bless U bro...You've been a homie .........We will always remenber. Jules Dex
The sudden and absurd death of Amadou Cisse is a tremendous lost to humanity. An intellectual elite and a will be pioneer in the man kind progress has been once again victim of a village idiot act. This tragedy highlights the taboo topic of black on black crime which wipes out the scarce and proud young black men and women who’re devoted in fulfilling the common believe of the used to be oppressed.
Oh Senegal, Sunugal,
Oh mother Africa, dry your tears, you’ve lost one of your brightest son but his death won’t be in vain.
We pray for a better world and may god host him in eternal paradise. Rest in peace, beloved brother …….
Amadou Bah
I am deeply touched by this crime. It shows the how insensitive, cruel, and inhuman people are nowadays. I knew him back to high school. Even though we have never talked (because he was in the 10th while I was in the 7th'), I admired him a lot. He was smart, and had a light in his eyes. He was such an exceptional human being, that I can not find the right words to express my sorrow. To Amadou Lamine Cisse's family, my thoughts and prayers are with you. you have my deepest sympathy. May ALLAH (SWT) bless his soul. May he protect him against: the temptations of death and the tomb, hell, and against djajjal. May he be part of those who walk on the Sirat Al Mustakhima bridge and enter the heavenly world. May ALLAH (SWT), preserves his soul and help him find peace. May ALLAH (SWT) gives faith, courage and strength to his hurtful family. As short as his live seems to have been to us, we do not have the power to choose who lives long or short. We do not have the power to undo death. But we have the power to chose to mourn no more this gentle soul, and celebrate his life, by maintaining his name as a legacy and make sure that he remains unforgotten because of who the person he was. Let us always remember this wonderful young man whose life in this world had been awfully taken, but whose story is one of the greatest. In Loving memory of Amadou Lamine Cisse, Loving son, brother and friend, Gentle soul! --Ndeye Yacine Mbodj

Additional memorial reflections can be found here...

Grad student killed in shooting at 6120 S Ellis

by Hyde Park Crime Watch
Last updated 8:25 am Nov. 21

12:33 AM: Chase and shooting of staff member in dead end street
At 12:33 a.m. at 6045 Woodlawn, a University staff member
noticed a car nearby pull up to him, according to Olivia Boyd, a friend. "He knew that something was very wrong, so he ran," Boyd said. "Someone got out of the car and chased him. That was when he was shot at." The shooting occurred in a dead end street, and although he was not shot, he was forced to jump a fence in order to avoid the gunfire, wounding himself in the process.

1:15 AM: Attack by five armed men
At 1:15 a.m., two female students were robbed at 924 E. 57th St. by five armed men.
Police provided relatively vague descriptions that identified the men as about 17 to 20 years old of average height and weight, possibly driving a light-colored car.

1:25 AM: Murder during attempted robbery
Amadou Cisse, an international student completing his Ph.D. degree in chemistry, was shot and killed at 1:26 a.m. in the street near 6120 S. Ellis Ave in the Woodlawn Neighborhood. Amadou lived in a house at 6130 S Ellis.

According to the Tribune, Amadou was walking when the gunman approached him, Calumet Area Detective David Fietko said. Cisse died on the scene after he was shot. Amadou was shot in the chest, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office and Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer. Cisse was pronounced dead at 4:25 a.m. at the Stein Institute.

According to NBC5, Police are seeking a dark-colored car believed to be involved in the shooting in the South Side's Woodlawn neighborhood. A 75-year-old man who lives near the shooting told police he heard the gunfire, looked out his window, saw the victim on the ground and a dark-colored car driving away, according to a Calumet Area detective. Authorities do not have a description of the assailant but did recover a small-caliber gun from the scene, which they are trying to trace. The shooter remained unknown and nobody was in custody at 5 a.m., the detective said. The University of Chicago is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime.

Chicago Police are looking for a light silver, gray or white four-door sedan with red doors on the driver’s side (pictured on left).

Police are investigating whether or not these incidents are related. Anyone who might have information related to any of these incidents should call the Chicago Police Department’s Area 2 Violent Crimes at 312-747-8272.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Carjacking at 50th and Cornell

At 6:33 p.m., Tuesday, October 30, on East 50th Place between Lake Park and Cornell Avenues, a woman was forced into her car by an armed man who then drove her car on to south bound Lake Shore Drive. He was pursued by police who had been contacted about a robbery in progress. The offender, with the victim, was stopped shortly thereafter; the offender was arrested; and the victim, unhurt, was released.

Shooting at 49th and Cottage Grove

At 11:05 p.m., Saturday, October 27, on 49th Street near Cottage Grove Avenue, a male juvenile sustained serious injury from gunshots fired at him by one of three men or male juveniles who drove up in a four door gray Pontiac Grand Am, exchanged words, and began shooting at the victim and his two companions who were pushing a disabled car. Police are investigating.