Staff Editorial

STAFF EDITORIAL: Disappointed, but not Surprised — No Alert from Campus Safety following Stabbing

Alanna Demetrius | The PhoenixLoyola Campus Safety didn't send a crime alert to students when a man was stabbed and an officer was injured near the Lake Shore Campus, leaving students to worry and find information on their own.

A man was stabbed near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus Monday night and students were sent into a frenzy as police scattered throughout the area surrounding Loyola to track down the offender. 

Police found the offender at the Loyola Red Line station — across the street from campus — and he cut a Chicago police officer’s hand. The man was tased before being taken into custody. 

But Campus Safety, Loyola’s private police force, didn’t send an alert notifying students of the situation.

The reason? “There was no ongoing threat,” university spokesperson Evangeline Politis said on behalf of Campus Safety Chief Tom Murray, who didn’t respond to The Phoenix’s request for comment.

In the meantime, students sought out their own ways to find information — using Twitter threads and police scanners, where the accuracy of information isn’t guaranteed.

Chicago police walked through a Phoenix staff member’s apartment because they thought the offender’s knife was in her backyard. The staff member said the officers walked through in their full gear — bulletproof vests and all — and searched the ground when they got outside.

Yet, Campus Safety still decided there was “no ongoing threat” and didn’t feel the need to tell its students what had happened.

Even though Politis said no one in the recent stabbing is connected to Loyola, students have a right to know a foot chase was happening in their backyard — literally, in some cases — especially if it happened within Campus Safety’s jurisdiction.

The reasoning — that there isn’t an “imminent threat” to students — is misguided. 

It’s the responsibility of Campus Safety to give students peace of mind when violence ensues near campus. If there’s no ongoing threat, that means students are safe — a message Campus Safety should want to spread.

An accurate, timely and transparent crime alert would save students from worry, frustration and fear.

We’ve seen this pattern before.

Violent crime happens near campus every year — and we’ve seen a trend of Campus Safety remaining silent and withholding alerts from students.

Between 2013 and 2017, 135 robberies were reported within Campus Safety’s jurisdiction, which is from West Pratt Boulevard on the north, North Glenwood Avenue on the west, West Glenlake Avenue on the south and Lake Michigan on the east, The Phoenix reported.

Despite those reports, Campus Safety only sent 40 crime alerts over that timespan, The Phoenix reported. 

The Phoenix has reported on the lack of crime alerts the past two years. At the end of September 2017, The Phoenix reported Campus Safety hadn’t sent out any crime alerts through the first month of the year. In that time a man was shot in the abdomen on North Sheridan Road, a half mile from Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. That was just one of six violent crimes from the beginning of the semester until the end of September. Nearly a month later, students received an alert about a strong-armed robbery at the Water Tower Campus.

At the end of September 2018 — a year after the 2017 article, almost to the day — The Phoenix again reported Campus Safety hadn’t sent any alerts through the first month of the school year. Lo and behold, an alert was sent out that day about an armed robbery near West Albion Avenue. That year, six violent crimes were also reported near Loyola’s campuses before an alert was sent.

Given this editorial is coming out Sept. 11, 2019, that must mean we’re due for our first crime alert of the year in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned to your emails.

This editorial board has voiced concerns about the lack of crime alerts in the past. We wrote about Campus Safety’s unwillingness to send alerts last year after a Loyola student was brutally beaten and robbed near her apartment just blocks from campus — where many upperclassmen Loyola students live.

No crime alert was sent, despite the incident happening within Campus Safety’s jurisdiction. It appears our concerns have fallen on deaf ears — again.

This is yet another example of students’ frustrations with Loyola’s lack of transparency. We’re getting tired of it, but it seems Loyola officials aren’t.

This is getting old. Students shouldn’t have to tell Campus Safety to keep them informed. It’s the same story year after year.

And it seems like it ends the same every time.

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