University administrators respond to spike in crime

Aiden Blinn | News Editor

Washington University administrators addressed the recent wave of crime near campus and outlined new security measures in separate emails sent to parents and students Sept. 18.

Safety concerns have increased recently following an armed robbery on Washington Ave., a carjacking at the intersection of Rosedale and Pershing, a second carjacking on Waterman Boulevard and a shooting at the Delmar MetroLink station. Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration Hank Webber emailed the Washington University community, while Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White forwarded Webber’s message to parents and added her own comments.

News Graphic, but this one worksGraphic by Brandon Wilburn

In her email, White emphasized the University’s duty to respond with measures such as these while reiterating the University’s commitment to safety.

“The frequency and severity of these crimes is extremely disturbing, and the University, as well as the municipalities around us, must respond,” White wrote. “I want to assure you that the University is working aggressively to take immediate and longer-term action to address public safety.”

The University’s response plan centers around both increasing the availability of off-campus transportation and strengthening the presence of WUPD in the areas surrounding campus. Specifically, the Green Line and other shuttle services now have larger capacity to transport students who might otherwise have to walk home alone, and WUPD has increased the number of officers patrolling neighborhoods near campus at night.

Webber also stressed the need for WUPD to collaborate with neighboring police departments and collect information on nearby crime trends.

“These coordinated efforts are extremely important; they help to most effectively focus capacity and manpower and share information about regional public safety trends and criminal activity,” Webber wrote.

According to both White and Webber, the Overpass over Forest Park Parkway, now scheduled for an early reopening Oct. 8, will increase campus safety. Webber noted that the Overpass will better connect the University to its neighborhoods.

“To provide more direct access to campus from the adjoining neighborhoods to the north, we will reopen our pedestrian bridge over Forest Park Parkway earlier than expected. Starting Monday, Oct. 8, half of the bridge’s width will be accessible until the entire width of the bridge is complete later in the month,” Webber wrote.

Junior Courtney Chan expects the Overpass to increase off-campus safety but still believes that the University needs to do more to address the issue.

“I’m so happy the Overpass is opening sooner,” Chan said. “It’s been difficult getting to and from campus from the Lofts, especially with the Green Line not having enough capacity for students and with the recent safety concerns on the Loop. I’m hopeful that this will help address those concerns, but I still think there’s some issues that need to be addressed by Wash. U., mainly the lack of transportation and safety late at night.”

Early Tuesday morning a man was shot in an attempted carjacking at a red light on the 700 block of Skinker Boulevard south of Danforth Campus. At the time of publication, the University had not issued a comment.