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Recent robberies around campus have left students on high alert

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

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A recent string of robberies that have taken place on and around DePaul’s campus has many students on edge about their safety.

According to Public Safety alerts that are sent out to students, faculty and staff, there have been multiple separate robbery incidents since Oct. 16.

The first strong arm robbery on Oct. 16 took place right next to the Student Center at 971 W. Belden around 1:20 p.m. According to the Public Safety alert, a student was walking when two subjects approached her, grabbed her cell phone and then took off in opposite directions.

Another strong arm robbery occurred just four days later on Oct. 20. The victim was walking near the Art Gallery in Lincoln Park at approximately 1:15 a.m. when a group took his cell phone that was on the ground and fled the area by taking the Fullerton Red Line, according to reports.

There was also a number of attacks believed to have been perpetrated by the same man on Oct. 24. At least four individuals were approached on Fullerton Avenue between Halsted Avenue and Sheffield Avenue. The suspect demanded that the individuals hand over their personal items before fleeing, police said.

In the alerts sent out by DePaul, Public Safety said there was one robbery and two attempted robberies between 2:20 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the 900 block of Fullerton Avenue. However, the Chicago Police Department has said that they only have one official report in that area during that time period.

The Chicago Police also said that one of the four Oct. 24 incidences was classified as a criminal sexual assault because the offender, after attempting to grab the bag from the victim and spilling its contents on the ground, grabbed the woman on her lower back side as she bent over to pick her things up before stealing some of her things.

The first reported armed robbery of the month took place on Nov. 1 near the Cortelyou Commons around 11:30 p.m. The student reported that three males came up to him, displayed a gun and demanded his personal belongs.

The last robbery attempt was reported on Nov. 2 around 7:10 a.m. in front of the Al’s Beef near DePaul’s Loop campus. A man approached the victim and demanded a cigarette, then attempted to take it away by pulling out a knife and grabbing her, police said. The victim pushed away and fled the scene, police said.

None of the incidents are believed to be related, besides the four reported robberies that took place on Oct. 24. Public Safety has stated that CPD is handling the investigation, though DePaul is cooperating.

Public Safety has advised students to stay on high alert following the recent robberies.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” said Public Safety Director Robert Wachowski. “Do not use cell phones when walking down the street or riding on public transportation. Report suspicious activity to Public Safety or the Chicago Police. Walk in groups when possible.”

In each Public Safety alert, students, faculty and staff are urged to report any information to either DePaul’s Public Safety or the CPD. However, the lack of information has left many confused on how they are to report anything to do with open investigations.

Students have complained about the lack of information given to them by Public Safety officials when alerts are sent out, stating the vague details do not help them. Typically, the email alerts contain two or three sentences explaining what incident occurred, but there is never any information about the perpetrator that would help students to identify them.

“I want them to improve on their crime reports,” student Tenzin Saldon said in a Facebook post on a DePaul class page. “I noticed that they rarely describe the perpetrators in details and expect us to hit them up if we know anything about them. The public safety alerts in general are vague and don’t really help besides saying ‘hey, be careful out there.’”

Regardless, many students have said that the Public Safety alerts have reminded them that despite being on campus, they still need to stay aware of their surroundings.

“I try to keep my head up wherever I go,” said student Anna Wolf. “I don’t want someone to think I am an easy target.”

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Recent robberies around campus have left students on high alert