No Campus Safety Crime Alerts Since Start of Semester

Molly Kozlowski | The PHOENIXCampus safety has sent zero crime alerts to Loyola students and staff this year.

On Sept. 24, a 29-year-old man was shot in the abdomen on North Sheridan Road, a half-mile away from the Lake Shore Campus, The PHOENIX reported.

But Loyola Campus Safety didn’t send an email alert about the shooting, which wasn’t Loyola-affiliated.

Students and staff haven’t received any crime alert notification from Campus Safety yet this semester. The last crime alert students received responded to a strong-armed robbery reported on April 24, 2017.

In recent years, Campus Safety sent out multiple crime alert notifications to students between the start of the semester and mid-September, with five notifications in 2016 and two in 2015.

The areas that surround Loyola haven’t been without crime, however. Campus Safety’s police logs reported a total of 61 incidents on the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses from Aug. 21 through Sept. 20, six of which were violent crimes — which include homicide, criminal sexual assault, fondling, dating violence, domestic violence, assault, battery and robbery.

The log accounts for all crimes reported to Campus Safety, even those that are unsubstantiated.

The six violent crimes reported by Campus Safety were a simple assault, three instances of battery and two instances of domestic violence. Two of the batteries, the simple assault and a case of domestic violence, which all occurred off campus, were classified as unfounded and lacked sufficient evidence to investigate.

One of the batteries, which took place at San Francisco Residence Hall, was referred for administrative sanction. The second domestic violence case took place in the main parking structure on the Lake Shore Campus but was handled by another jurisdiction.

There were 15 total violent crimes across Loyola’s campuses in 2015, according to the 2016 Clery Act Safety Bulletin, which lists annual crime statistics about instances on and around college campuses. Eight instances of violent crime were reported off campus near Loyola that same year. In total, there were 23 instances on and off Loyola’s campuses.

    According to the 2016 reports, DePaul University reported 83 violent crimes across all campuses, Northwestern University reported 25, the University of Illinois at Chicago reported 57 and the University of Chicago reported 85.

    Compared to other Chicagoland campuses, a 2016 PHOENIX investigation found that Loyola ranked lower in violent crime in its 2015 Clery report. However, the Clery Act is only a reflection of crimes involving Loyola students, not an overall record of crimes reported on the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses and in Rogers Park.

Out of the 23 instances on the Loyola campuses last year, 16 were sent as crime notifications to students and staff.

    In a past interview with The PHOENIX, Loyola Campus Safety Sgt. Tim Cunningham explained that campus crime alerts are sent out based on compliance with the Clery Act.

    “We are guided by the Clery Act, but also issue alerts for significant threats that occur outside the Clery Act requirements,” Cunningham said. “All crimes Campus Safety is aware of are considered for notifications through the lens of campus community safety, Clery requirements, investigative process and Clery guidelines.”

    In that same interview, Cunningham said it’s important to make sure the crime alerts are taken seriously, not just skimmed over.

“Too many crime alerts could lead to students starting to ignore the messages,” Cunningham said. “This is why we do not send out emails for every single incident on campus and is why we follow the [Clery Act] guidelines.”

According to the Clery Act’s 2016 guidelines, an alert is only necessary “for any Clery Act crime that represents an ongoing threat to the safety of students or employees.”

    The guidelines define “ongoing” as “any Clery Act crime committed on your Clery Act geography that is reported to your campus security authorities or a local law enforcement agency, and that is considered by the institution to represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees.”

    The two offenders from the shooting on North Sheridan Road, which occurred just outside of Campus Safety boundaries, are still not in custody by the Chicago Police Department.

When contacted for comment for this story, Cunningham stated in an email to The PHOENIX that alerts are still sent out by Campus Safety as required by the Clery Act.

In the past, Campus Safety has told The PHOENIX on multiple occasions that the Loyola community is often not notified of crimes that don’t involve Loyola-affiliated people.

Over the summer, a 80-year-old man was stabbed near The Morgan at Loyola Station. The offender was arrested at the scene. Even though it occurred just outside of campus, the incident didn’t involve a Loyola-affiliated person, nor did it present an ongoing threat. Therefore, no alert was sent by Campus Safety.

After four years on Loyola’s campus, senior Eric Su says he didn’t notice the absence of crime alerts this month and didn’t pay much attention to them in the past.   

“[Crime notifications] would make me more aware in the moment but I would forget about them later,” said the 21-year-old information technology major. “I feel very safe. When I do hear about crime on campus or in Rogers Park, it tends to feel far away.”

Even though first-year Loyola student Talia Devlin is new to campus, she wasn’t surprised about the lack of notifications.

“I never perceived Loyola as unsafe. I was more worried about Chicago in general,” said the 18-year-old advertising creative major. “I feel pretty safe here and [Campus Safety does] a lot to ensure our safety.”

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