Lack of crime reports a cause for concern

While Loyola students experience crime first-hand, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is lagging behind in updating its crime databases.

The lack of updates from both Campus Safety and CPD has prompted concerns about information being withheld from the community, said  junior nursing major Jackie Garreau, 21.

“I feel like if I’m calling the police they should not only do something about it, but they should be updating us on that [crime],” Garreau said. “As a citizen who is trying to do my job, they should do their job too.”

Garreau said she reported what she believed to be a crime in the 1200 block of West Columbia Avenue late on March 25, but has not gotten updates from CPD.

“I heard a blood-curdling scream that obviously was like a girl in trouble,” Garreau said. “I called the police right away … I’m a little upset … that I haven’t heard anything. I understand they’re not going to call everybody back, but … it happened on a block [where] a lot of Loyola students live,” she said.

This is not the first time students have encountered problems getting information about crime around campus.

Earlier this year, the Loyola community was not alerted of two sexual assault cases that occurred within blocks of Lake Shore Campus on the evenings of Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, when a  4-year-old was attacked in an apartment in the 6600 block of North Greenview Avenue and a 23-year-old female was sexually assaulted in an apartment in the 6600 block of North Glenwood Avenue.

It also took Campus Safety two days to send an email alert about the armed robbery of a sophomore Loyola student in the 1200 block of West Albion Avenue, which occurred on the evening of March 17.

“Campus Safety wasn’t really involved [in my case] at all,” said the victim of the March 17 robbery, who preferred to remain anonymous. “Someone from The Phoenix contacted them about why they hadn’t released anything yet and they had no idea it happened. They seemed annoyed I didn’t report it to them and my reasoning for not reporting it was that it didn’t happen on campus; it happened near campus. It’s not really my responsibility to tell them when I already reported it to CPD,” he said.

CPD’s Office of News Affairs told The PHOENIX that the office hopes to update its online crime statistics sometime soon. The most recent report comparing this year’s crime to last year’s only displays statistics for the week of March 3-9.

According to this weekly report, Rogers Park has seen a 94 percent increase in overall criminal activity during the 10th week of this year, compared to the same week in 2013. This year, 35 criminal incidents were reported from March 3-9, up from 18 last year. The crimes that have experienced the highest increases are robbery by 700 percent, aggravated battery by 33 percent, burglary by 29 percent, theft by 133 percent and motor vehicle theft by 50 percent, the CPD report shows.

The 24th Police District, which serves the Rogers Park and Edgewater neighborhoods, lists on its website 34 crime incidents that occurred from March 1-23 in the areas where Loyola’s Lake Shore campus is located.

According to this database, theft has been the most prominent criminal activity on and around campus during this period, with several instances occurring in the 1200 block of West Arthur Avenue, the 1600 blocks of West Albion and West Columbia avenues and in the 6600 and 6700 blocks of North Sheridan Road. A few robberies also occurred near the Granville Red Line station and in the 6100 and 6300 blocks of North Kenmore Avenue on the south side of campus.

The database, however, does not include crimes that occurred during the last week of the month, including a late night shooting in the 7400 block of North Ashland Avenue on March 25 and a gang-related shooting in the middle of the day March 28 that left two injured in the 1500 block of West Morse Avenue.

Alderman Joe Moore assured in an email to the community that the police district is investigating the crimes, which police believe are unrelated.

“Commander [Thomas] Waldera has requested and received additional deployments of police, which will be patrolling the area heavily to guard against any retaliatory shootings,” Moore said in the email.

Senior psychology major Hannah Chojnacki, 21, interns in the area where the second shooting happened.

“I definitely never expected that to happen. It’s Morse Avenue. It’s a busy street. I see families and my students walking there every day, so it was definitely a huge surprise,” Chojnacki said. “I don’t know if I can say crime is getting worse or not just because I’ve never experienced it firsthand until this.”

The lack of updated monthly crime statistics is problematic, according to Chojnacki.

“That’s important information because if you were to see a lot of crime and then not see it for a while, you might think it’s going down, but it may just be because it’s not on your block and it just moved next door. That’s important to know,” she said.

For the Loyola sophomore who was robbed on March 17, outdated crime statistics could become especially problematic if they are neglected for more than three weeks.

“As long as it’s updated monthly, I don’t see it as a huge issue,” he said. “But if they are falling behind and not doing it for a while, that poses a huge issue because crime is important, especially if you’re a prospective student or [current] student.”

While students recognize that police cannot patrol everywhere at every moment, students still want to receive updates and see improvements in lines of communication, according to Garreau.

“Even if Campus Safety and CPD are upping their manpower and patrolling the area more, you can’t be everywhere at once,” Garreau said. “I just wish they would update us because I’m concerned that I call them and I still haven’t heard anything about [the case.] It’s concerning to me, because I feel like if they’re not going to do anything when we call, then what’s the incentive to call the police?”

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