April 5, 2013

Pierce students notified of mugging across 55th St

University and Chicago police are investigating an early morning crime near Pierce Tower.

According to University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) Incident Reports, two unknown males, one armed with a handgun, approached a University student walking on the sidewalk north of 55th Street and South University Avenue, around 1:30 a.m. on Monday. They struck the student on the back of the hand and took his iPhone, wallet, and keys from his pocket. The suspects then fled north on University Avenue. The victim was not hurt and declined medical attention.

Because the incident occurred within a block of Pierce Tower, the Office of Campus and Student Life (CSL) decided to notify Pierce residents and staff through a safety memo from the Office of Undergraduate Housing e-mailed to Resident Heads on Monday. UCPD Public Information Officer Bob Mason said it was the CSL’s decision to distribute the memo, but they consulted UCPD on the matter.

“We work together all the time, anytime a student is affected,” he said.

According to Mason, only Pierce residents received notification of the incident because it occurred off-campus. The UCPD considers “the south curve of 55th Street” the northern boundary of campus.

The UCPD’s policy on sending campus-wide security alerts applies to “any violent crime on campus.”

However, for specific incidents, it is common practice to notify students who live near the affected area. As stated in the UCPD’s guidelines on security alerts, “depending upon location a specific crime may merit an alert or announcement posted in the location affected by the incident. Examples include incidents in or near residence halls, academic buildings, or University-affiliated schools.”

“If something doesn’t qualify for the policy of security alerts, and if it’s in the vicinity [of] where students are housed, those students [within the vicinity of the crime] are notified,” he said.

The suspects are still at large, and the case is under Chicago Police (CPD) investigation, according to Mason. He said that in general, while the UCPD often assists the CPD, off-campus incidents are primarily under the jurisdiction of the CPD.