After break-ins, focus on security
Residents of the Greenway Apartments woke up last week to find that approximately 15 cars were broken into in the building’s surrounding area, prompting heightened security concerns there.
In response to the event, the University City Police Department (UCPD)—the precinct that has jurisdiction over many of the neighborhoods in which University-owned housing is located—has increased the number of patrols in the vicinity of the Greenway Apartments.
“I’ve noticed an increased police presence. There has been a police car on the corner of Melville and Delmar for the lasts couple of days,” junior Stephi Blank, a resident of the Greenway Apartments, said.
Among the items stolen in the break-in were iPods, compact discs and money. In addition, several cars were physically damaged. A witness interrupted the crime, resulting in the flight of the culprits.
Many residents of University-owned off-campus housing, however, still feel that they are safer on campus than in the areas surrounding the off-campus residences.
“When I’m walking through campus or the Village, there’s a matter of comfort. Being on campus, I never felt unsafe. Walking through the back alley of Greenway, especially after what happened the other day, is a little unnerving,” Blank said.
Initially, the Washington University Police Department (WUPD) responded to the burglary and is continuing to investigate in collaboration with UCPD and the victims of the crime.
“We keep getting e-mails telling us that we are welcome to speak to the police regarding any questions we have,” Blank said.
WUPD Chief Don Strom said that the off-campus housing is in a community that has a relatively low crime rate.
“These neighborhoods are like any other urban community,” Strom said. “The Greenway Apartment [building] doesn’t have a particularly high crime rate. There are periodic sorts of property crimes that you’ll find in any other urban neighborhood.”
Despite the relative safety of the neighborhood, WUPD is taking measures to keep the University’s students safer, including setting up a special police detail to monitor off-campus residences owned by the University.
This patrol includes five licensed security officers who are overseen by a WUPD sergeant and patrol officer. Together, the detail patrols the surrounding areas from 6 p.m. until between 2 and 4 a.m. each night and provides extra patrols around the buildings of the University, according to Strom.
Additionally, WUPD has extended the blue-light phones to locations near off-campus residences. These phones are used to contact police officers when students feel threatened. Thus far, the phones have primarily existed on the Danforth Campus and the South 40.
Also, a joint police bike patrol runs regularly with UCPD.
There are several off-campus properties that Residential Life oversees, including Greenway, Rosedale Apartments, University Drive Apartments, Waterman Court and the Loop Lofts.
All of these residences have a residential college director, as well as several residential advisors, all employed by the Office of Residential Life. These employees work as liaisons between the police and the residents and communicate the additional security measures to those who live off campus.
Even though people were initially concerned about the incidence of crime, it appears that students will not be deterred from living off campus in the future.
“I don’t think that people are more concerned about their own security,” Blank said. “People were a little freaked out at the beginning, but they realized that the area surrounding Wash. U. is very safe. As a result of the incident, people check up on their cars more often.”