How Dangerous Can It Get?

27 Sep

“A UIC student was the victim of a battery”. This is an example of a crime alert that is sent through e-mail and text messages to students and faculty when such an incident occurs. Crimes that take place in the Chicago are not restricted to only one part of the city. For example, the most recent crime that happened in the Chicago area was on Friday the 19th of September near DePaul University. A 19 year-old man from the South Side broke into an unsuspecting woman’s apartment, and sexually assaulted her. Luckily, a neighbor reported the crime to police after seeing her purse and its contents scattered on the porch. The offender was arrested by the Chicago police and he now faces up to 30 years in prison. As a result of this one incident that took place in Lincoln Park, many women in the area are now frightened; despite the systems success in obtaining the assailant. Although, when it comes to crime around the city as a whole, this example is rare.

When crimes on campus are presented to the public, they are categorized by acts, as well as those that are happening off-campus. For example, the most prominent crime committed on college campuses is robbery.  If you are interested in finding more information about crime statistic on campus, please visit UIC’s safety stats page.

It is important to be conscientious about the surroundings at all times, because without taking these precautions one will be a vulnerable target. When Chicago colleges email crime alerts to students, they always include tips on how to stay safe while commuting or walking around campus. The top recommendation is always to walk in groups. Traveling in groups decreases your chances of being attacked, because it would be more difficult for the offender to approach the target. For your protection, the UIC’s police department offers these suggestions on how to remain safe:

•           Make sure your windows and doors are locked properly.

•           Keep curtains and blinds closed at night.

•           Keep valuables out of plain view and never loan your keys to anyone.

•           Install a light timer for use when not occupying your room.

•           Always identify anyone before allowing them into your room or apartment.

•           Do not use door jams because you may forget when you leave your room, therefore leaving your door open.

•           Never leave your items unattended. Designated backpack spaces are rarely monitored and leaving them unattended is an invitation for theft.

Another safety method used when walking around campus at UIC is to request an escort to that accompanies students to their destination.  Safety methods used by most Chicago colleges, are after- hours car service and Startel poles. For example, UIC offers something called the “Red Car” which is like a free taxi service for students. The Red Car will pick you up from, and take you to, any destination within UICs boarders. In addition, there are over 1,000 Startel poles at UIC, and the way that they are designed is: wherever there is one, you should always see another. Lastly, when feeling endangered you can press the Startel Pole and within 90 seconds receive a response from the campus police.

Crime prevention is similar in most college campuses in Chicago. For example, at Depaul University they provide educational programs such as: Residence Hall Security, Rape awareness/ Education and Prevention, and Crime Prevention.The crime prevention programs, along with the escort program include: Printed Crime Prevention Materials, Operation Identification, Crime Prevention Publicity, and Access to Residence Halls.  In the Printed Crime Prevention Materials program there are printed crime prevention brochures, posters and bookmarks that are related to all kind of security procedures that are run throughout campus; the Operation Identification program allows students to engrave their valuable items, and the Crime Prevention Publicity is where crime prevention articles are published in news outlets at college campuses. Finally, the Access to Residence Halls program only permits access to the exterior doors for residents with the card-access system or keys. For further information on the safety program available at DePaul University, please visit DePaul’s safety information page.

Students may also purchase small-personal safety items such as: a pocket-knife, pepper spray, or an electric e small-personal safety items when traveling around campus, such as a pocket-knife, pepper spray or an electric-taser. Some students may be embarrassed to carry pepper spray in fear that they are obvious. It could also create a fearful image in front of an assailant, which could make the student easier to be a target, so there are pepper sprays designed as pens.

Many of these objects are illegal to sell at local stores so there are other options to obtain them. They may be bought online from a police supply store. For example, pepper spray similar to the one shown in the picture costs $6.69. The price for the pepper spray ranges depending on its brand and it is categorized based on its effectiveness. When entering the website to purchase pepper spray, the best choice to make is the personal pepper spray. The pocket knives are categorized as folding-knives and the cheapest knife available is priced as $5.85, so there are many available and affordable options out there.

Following these tips for protection are important as long as one is also ALERT. Remember to always be alert. In quoting a UIC student that gives campus-tours in the school for newly coming students, “We are like any other college or university in the nation. Crime is inevitable, but it usually happens off campus. That is when you have to be conscious about protecting yourself.”



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