Loyola Campus Safety and Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) teamed up for a “safety stroll” through Rogers Park on Oct. 19. The stroll hoped to educate students on how to stay safe when walking through the neighborhood, but only two students who were not part of SGLC attended.
The tour was led by Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham. It began at 6 p.m. in the Damen Den, but the didn’t leave until around 6:45 p.m. Speaking on the delayed start time and low attendance, the tour’s organizer, Sophomore Sidney Joseph, said, “The only comment I have on the attendance is that it’s midterms and most people were studying.”
The tour went from Campus Safety’s south border, Granville Avenue, to its north border, Pratt Avenue. The tour stopped at popular spots like Albion Park and areas like Glenwood Avenue, where many students live.
Along the way, Cunningham pointed out areas where crime is likely to occur, such as areas with low visibility and places near the lake, which can attract potential criminals.
“If you don’t feel safe, you’re not,” said Cunningham, who recommended avoiding alleyways and poorly-lit streets.
Students sometimes get lost at night, making them easy targets for criminals, according to Cunningham.
“Often a student will come out of a friend’s apartment and go left when they should have gone right, and then before they know it they’re eight blocks from campus and have no idea where they are,” Cunningham said.
Joseph, who is the chair of SGLC’s Safety and Wellness Committee, helped organize the event. She said crimes like the “sexual attacks and assaults [on Winthrop Ave.] are an imperative topic to discuss.”
“Along with being vigilant and avoiding dangerous areas, students should avoid walking alone during late hours, especially while using headphones or having their phones visible,” said the international business major and pre-law student.
Cunningham wanted to remind students that it’s always possible that they could be the victim of a crime, and advised students to remember that it’s safest to cooperate with an assailant’s demands.
“Whatever is in your bag, it’s not worth it to fight back,” Cunningham said. “Give them whatever they want, and when you do, throw it over their head and run away as fast as you can.”
During the tour, one student, who wished to remain anonymous, shared a story of how she was assaulted near her apartment north of LSC.
“I was walking in my building’s front door when some guy came up from behind and grabbed me. I tried to fight back, and he pulled my hair and slammed my head against the wall,” she said.
This student’s assault, like many others, was never reported to Campus Safety, because she said she was too shaken up to speak with officers. This is a big problem for the officers charged with keeping students safe, according to Campus Safety officer Brendan Mulcrone.
“We hear a lot of students say they don’t want to bother us,” said Mulcrone. “We’re paid to serve you, so don’t ever be afraid to call.”
With Halloween coming up in just over a week, Cunningham advised students to be extra cautious and aware of their surroundings, and to take 8-RIDE, which runs until 2:30 a.m. from Monday through Sunday on weekdays and until 4 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
In the event that a student does need assistance, Cunningham said students should use one of the more than 400 blue emergency phones on campus, which can put students in direct contact with campus police.