Monday, March 12, 2012

UChicago Crime Report: Sunday Robberies

(UCPD car courtesy The Chicago Maroon)

Incident Location Date/Time Occurred Comments
Aggravated Robbery 55th between Cornell & Hyde Park Blvd 3/11/12 4:20 AM Two unknown males, one with his hand in his pocket, implying a weapon, took property from a man walking on the sidewalk off campus / No weapon was seen
Attempted Robbery 57th between Kimbark & Woodlawn 3/11/12 11:08 PM Unknown male attempted to take property from a person walking on the sidewalk off campus/ Suspect fled to a waiting vehicle when a witness appeared / Victim not injured, no property loss

(Know your crime terms!)
Robbery (aka "Mugging")
"The taking of or attempting to take anything of value from the care or custody of a person by force or threat of force" (Chicago Police Department Annual Report, 2010)

Chicago Warrior would like to remind you that warmer weather = increased violent crime. Despite our considerable police presence, UChicago does not escape this urban (or more generally, criminal) phenomenon. We tend not to get the shootings, beatings, and stabbings that might plague other South Side Chicago communities. But like those neighborhoods, we get plenty of robberies.

Probably will be restating this a lot over my writings, and definitely a lot as it continues to get warmer. Here are some concrete tips to avoid getting into a bad situation like this.
    If you feel uncomfortable with any people, obstacles, or situations on your side of the street, cross to the other side. Or better yet, double back the way you came. Don't worry about looking stupid, don't worry about offending anyone, and don't worry about wasting time. 
    Look over your shoulder. Look for visual cues around alleys and dark places (suspicious shadows, blind spots, etc.) Listen for sounds that are out of place, such as muttered conversation that stops as you walk towards an alley. No one should be sneaking up on you from behind, and absolutely no one should be sneaking up on you from the front. Remember the old D&D adage: If you get ambushed, you already failed your listen and spot check. 
    Distinct from BEING aware. You must also look like you are aware. Make sure people see you scanning the street. Acknowledge people as you walk by them. Don't trip and stumble on loose concrete (good life advice anyway). Generally, you don't want to look like prey. Robbers will ignore difficult targets and wait for easier ones. 
    UChicago students fail miserably in the "LOOK AWARE" category in two regards. The first is with headphones. You don't need to rock as you walk. Not only can't you hear anything other than The Boss explaining his running birthright, but you also prove to anyone that looks at you that you have something worth taking! Music players/iPhones are worth big bucks. You can groove out when you get home.
    This one is perhaps worse than the headphone problem. At least with headphones, you can presumably still look around. With a phone, you are probably so distracted by your riveting text conversation that you can neither see nor hear anything going on around you. Sensory exclusion is scary stuff when your attention is elsewhere. Moreover, headphones just imply the presence of a musical device. Holding your fancy smart phone ADVERTISES the existence of that object. 
I will go over those points later to drill them in. Everyone should learn them, practice them, and teach them to your friends. 

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