Despite decrease, property crimes still prevalent in the Lincoln Park community

Being a student at DePaul, most students expect an occasional campus safety alert. Living in a large city, crime is inevitable. However, four students robbed in broad daylight near the quad on a Monday morning was alarming to many students.

Even with four students robbed in a high-traffic areas on campus, many students still say they feel safe. In comparison to last year, crime is down in the Lincoln Park community. From Aug. 29 – Sept. 28, violent crimes were down 10 percent while property crimes are down 20 percent, according to the Chicago city data portal.

“I feel pretty safe [on campus],” Molly Levy, a senior PR and advertising major, said. “You just get comfortable with the area and know when it’s okay to go around by yourself.”

Freshman Lix Caton takes similar precautions.

“I don’t do risky things, like going out at night by myself,” Caton said.

When asked if he felt safe on campus, Brennan Eastwood, a third year student, laughed and said “good question.”

“On campus yes, but in the [Lincoln Park] neighborhood, it’s iffy,” Eastwood said. When he walks, Eastwood said he makes himself look like he’s “on a mission” and he won’t be disturbed.

Seventeen of 20 students interviewed on the Lincoln Park campus Oct. 8-10 said they feel safe on the Lincoln Park campus.

A campus safety alert was sent to students via email for the ‘quad robbery’ where six offenders robbed four students near the Lincoln Park quad at three separate locations. The incidents took place during a half-hour span beginning at 11:10 a.m. on Sept. 30.

Chicago Police arrested four of the six offenders on the scene. 19-year-old Ivory Mitchell was charged with one count of reckless conduct and held on $1,500 bond, according to CPD arrest records. The other three individuals arrested were minors so arrest records couldn’t be provided.

Public safety did not post a safety alert on campus buildings because the offenders were apprehended immediately and were “not a threat to the community,” Bob Wachowski, director of public safety, said.

However, according to the arrest records, Mitchell was released later that night at 7:08 p.m.

Junior Jill Nyhof called the attack on Fullerton “crazy.”

“I didn’t think a criminal would be that audacious in the middle of public,” Nyhof said. “Now I’m more aware when I walk home at night.”

After the robberies on campus, Freshman Julia Balling called it a “wakeup call to be more cautious.” Balling makes sure to travel with her friends and uses the Public Safety escort service from her dorm to the Ray Meyer Fitness Center.

Caton, from southern Indiana, said her roommate was the first to tell her about the robberies on Fullerton.

“Neither of us are from Chicago. We thought, ‘This happens even in the middle of the day,'” Caton said. Now she carries her phone and wallet in her hands to keep an eye on it.

Hilary Cassman, a senior PR and advertising major, said the robberies “freaked [her] out because that could have been anyone … I’m on campus every day.”

Out of the 77 community areas in the city, Lincoln Park ranks no. 28 for the number of property crimes and 53 for violent crimes. However, the Avalon Park community on the city’s Southside ranks no. 11 for violent crimes but sits lower on the list for property crimes at 39, according to the city data portal.

This same data shows there have been 238 reported property crimes, including theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, or arson between Aug. 27 and Sept. 28 this year in Lincoln Park.

Although Lincoln Park does not comparatively rank high on the list for violent crimes, it continues to be a target for property crimes, such as theft. Wachowski said the number one crime on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus is theft of unattended items and that it continues to be a problem every year.

Levy said she thinks Lincoln Park sees a decent amount of crime compared to other communities in the city, but that “a majority of it is petty crime.”

Freshman Brenden Moore suggested Lincoln Park is a more likely target for property crime because it’s a wealthier area.

More than 25 percent of property crimes in Lincoln Park happen on the streets or sidewalks, according to the city data portal.

“With the current trend, if you’re out on the city streets, it’s just not safe to have an iPhone out no matter where you’re at in the city,” Wachowski said.

Moore, on the other hand, feels very comfortable in Lincoln Park, thanks to Public Safety.

“I have confidence in public safety,” Moore said. “They’ve done a ton of things on campus to keep us safe.”

“There’s more of an incentive to steal here,” Moore said. “[Property crime is] a different type of crime, but it could be a lot worse,” Moore said in reference to more violent crimes.

Senior Ryan Voortman agreed.

“On campus during the day, everywhere you look is security,” Voortman said.

Wachowski said they work closely with the Chicago Police Department and even operate on the same frequency to communicate easily.

Many students who live away from campus take advantage of the off-campus shuttles during midterm and finals weeks. When asked if Public Safety would ever extend their chauffeur boundaries, Wachowski said that decision would need to be made higher up and that it really comes down to money and staffing.

Nyhof said she is especially cautious when she leaves the library as late as 1 a.m. She said she wishes public safety’s escort service went further north so she could use it to return to her apartment.

Additionally, the fall CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) meeting will take place Monday, Oct. 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Park Student Center Atrium. Wachowski and a CPD CAPS officer will speak at the event.