The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Three Students Robbed Near Campus, Blue Light Near Incident Broken

The University promised increased security measures after the incidents on April 17.
The+inoperable+emergency+box+located+on+the+corner+of+East+56th+Street+and+South+Dorchester+Avenue%2C+near+the+location+of+one+of+the+robberies.
Peter Maheras
The inoperable emergency box located on the corner of East 56th Street and South Dorchester Avenue, near the location of one of the robberies.

Three students were robbed at gunpoint in two separate incidents on the afternoon of April 17 on and near the University’s campus. In one of the incidents, an emergency blue light box located nearby to be used to contact emergency services was inoperable and had been since at least September 2023.

After the robberies, the University sent an update on safety measures it was taking in response.

Four armed individuals approached two University students at around 2:50 p.m. One student was on the sidewalk outside Bartlett Dining Commons on South University Avenue. The other student was across the street from Bartlett outside the Psi Upsilon fraternity house on 5639 South University Avenue, according to a security alert sent to students by Eric Heath, the vice president for safety and security. The suspects “took property from the victims” before fleeing the scene in a four-door black Infiniti, the email said. The victim outside Psi Upsilon resisted the armed individual who approached her and grabbed the magazine out of his gun before the individual retreated to a waiting car.

Five minutes later, two armed individuals approached a single University student on East 56th Street between South Kenwood and South Dorchester Avenues, about three blocks east of Max Palevsky Residential Commons. The suspects fled with some of the student’s property in an unidentified four-door black vehicle, according to the email.

An emergency blue light box located at the corner of East 56th Street and South Dorchester Avenue, near where the second robbery took place, has been broken since at least September. A pair of students attempted to use the box in September but could not connect to emergency services, the Maroon confirmed through a text one of the students sent at the time. A black plastic wrap was later placed on the box and remains there as of April 22.

In a statement to the Maroon, the University confirmed that the blue light was inoperable.

“The Department of Safety & Security operates 358 emergency blue light phones both on- and off-campus,” the statement said. “We regularly test the phones to make sure they are in working order and repair out-of-service phones as quickly as possible. Approximately 99% of phones are currently fully operational; however, the blue light phone near E 56th St. and S Dorchester Ave. is currently inoperable. That phone is not located on University property; we are working to identify a long-term solution.”

The University said that, in addition to the blue lights, individuals in emergencies should dial 911 or connect to the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) through the UChicago Safe app or by dialing (773) 702–8181.

The locations of two armed robberies that took place on and near the UChicago campus on April 17th, 2024.

Dean of Students Michelle Rasmussen and UCPD Chief Kyle Bowman sent an email to the University community on April 18 reiterating UCPD and the Chicago Police Department’s efforts to respond to crime near campus.

“In addition to the ongoing work of apprehending suspects in these cases, UCPD and our Campus Safety Ambassadors have increased their presence in the area,” the email said. “While the number of robberies in our area has decreased over the last year, we are continuing active measures to reduce crime.”

Rasmussen and Bowman listed the creation of a “strategic operations center” to centralize monitoring and data collection; new security technology; campus transportation offerings, including the transition between the TransLoc and Passio GO! UGo shuttle tracking apps; and resources for victims of crime as steps the University has taken to ensure campus safety.

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About the Contributors
Michael Plunkett
Michael Plunkett, Lead Developer Emeritus
Michael Plunkett is an MSCAPP graduate student of the class of 2024 who moved to Chicago from Austin, Texas to pursue the intersection of technology and government oversight. He works as the Founder and Lead Developer of the Data Department at The Maroon. He started working at The Maroon because of his love for investigative journalism and his desire to contribute to the part of the city he now calls home. When he can tear himself away from schoolwork, you can often find him running on the Lakefront Trail or snoopin' around local bookshops.
Peter Maheras
Peter Maheras, News Editor
Peter is a third-year student in the College from Brookline, Massachusetts. He is studying political science and Law, Letters, and Society. For The Maroon, Peter often writes about the relationship between the University and its neighbors as well as about Chicago politics. Outside of The Maroon, Peter is an avid podcast consumer and Love Island fanatic.
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    Robert / Apr 23, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    It’s too bad we don’t know what the suspects looked like! Was there any description of the four individuals in the black Infiniti or the two individuals in a black vehicle?

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