Assaults, intoxicated students, theft and armed robbery top the list of concerns for Loyola’s Campus Safety officials so far this semester, according to Lieutenant Joseph Bogdalek.
“Our deep concern [is] for [students’] well being,” Bogdalek said, who works at the Campus Safety Office, stating that criminal activity has gone up this year compared to Jan. 2012.
Currently, Loyola student Colin Kennedy is awaiting trial on criminal sexual assault charges.
Robert Kelly, Loyola’s vice president for student development, sent an email to the Loyola community Tuesday afternoon explaining the situation.
The statement read: “The alleged incidents occurred on campus during the weekend of Jan. 12 and were reported to Campus Safety on Jan. 26. Currently the offender is awaiting trial.”
The confiscation of fake IDs from students has remained another issue, even after the closure of Hamilton’s bar last October.
“We are still confiscating fake IDs from students,” Bogdalek said.
Campus Safety officials said there have been seven theft incidents during the first few weeks of the year, a decrease from the 12 cases that were reported last January, but still a significant safety concern for officials.
Miguel Siman, 19, a sophomore film major, was one victim of theft last semester in the university bookstore at Lake Shore Campus.
“I went into the bookstore at Lake Shore and left my bag at the bag drop in the entrance. After 20 minutes in the store I went back for my bag and it wasn’t there,” the Salvadoran international student said.
Siman notified bookstore personnel, who showed him the footage from the store’s security cameras. The video showed a woman taking Siman’s bag.
“Inside the bag I had my iPad, a memory stick with videos for a movie I was making and a notebook,” Siman said. “I tried to track my iPad through Apple’s Find-My-iPhone application, but the iPad never connected to the Internet so I couldn’t track it.”
Campus Safety told Siman they would notify him if they found the woman. “As of today, no one has found her and no one has taken responsibility,” Siman said. “Somewhere out there, there’s a lady with an awesome Christmas present,” he added.
The investigation is ongoing, according to Bogdalek.
“Right now I am looking into a theft of a phone and a briefcase from the Crown Center,” he said.
Although theft has decreased within the area of Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, burglaries are on the rise in Rogers Park, according to Chicago police officials.
Rogers Park District Police Commander James Roussell alerted residents of the district about this increase during a community policing meeting at Chicago Math and Science Academy on Jan. 24.
“It is strong-armed robberies, one to three individuals,” Roussell said.
Criminals have a preference for people who have their earphones on or their phones out and are interested in taking iPods, cell phones and cash, according to Roussell.
The alert comes more than a month after the theft of Siman’s bag and almost two weeks after a female Loyola student was robbed at gunpoint the night of Jan. 15.
During the robbery, which took place at approximately 9:30 p.m. at Lakewood and North Shore Avenues — a block north from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus — thieves left with the student’s cell phone and money, according to an email statement sent to the university community by Robert Fine, director of Loyola’s Campus Safety.
No arrests have been made, but police are investigating the case, according to Bogdalek.
“I’ve got some leads,” Roussell said.
Even when safety concerns are high on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus, many students still feel safe when walking within the university.
“In campus I feel safe because there are always people around,” said Kristen Bonfiglio, 18, a freshman nursing major.
Meredith Vivian, 19, shared Bonfiglio’s feelings.
“I feel really safe on campus and in the neighborhood. I feel safe during the day,” she said.
For Vivian, a freshman communications and theater double major, the presence of Campus Safety and Chicago Police officials is reassuring when walking around the neighborhood at night.
“It’s really sketchy at night, but I see so many cop cars driving by that it is not an immediate danger,” Vivian said.
Hanna Cavoto, 18, a freshman social work major who lives in Mertz Hall — close to where the armed robbery took place Jan. 15 — also said she feels safe around campus.
“We get the emails, but I feel perfectly safe,” she said.
Campus Safety recommends students avoid walking alone at night when traveling off campus, to always be aware of their surroundings and never leave personal property unattended.
“Be aware of individuals trying to access … secure areas,” Bogdalek said, making reference to people “piggybacking” on swipe-card entrance.
He also stressed the need to always lock doors, even if leaving for only a few minutes.
“Maintain a list of serial number of electronics and valuables and keep that list in a safe place,” he added, in case they need to be tracked after being stolen.
In addition, “suspicious person” calls figure among the top concerns for Campus Safety, according to Bogdalek.
“People hesitate to contact or call us immediately when they observe someone or something they perceive as suspicious, and as a result, the person has departed prior to our arrival to investigate,” Bogdalek said, emphasizing that notifying suspicious activity is crucial in preventing crime.
“More than a couple of times, if we had been notified in a more timely fashion we could have prevented a crime or apprehended an offender stealing a phone, computer or other property from office areas and buildings,” Bogdalek said.
He urged the university community to call Campus Safety if witnessing something out of the ordinary.
“Please call Campus Safety if someone or something appears suspicious or does not appear to be quite right,” Bogdalek stressed.
by Esther Castillejo