WUPD and Residential Life investigate window knocking disturbances on South 40

News Editors

Residential Life and the Washington University Police Department are currently investigating a series of incidents involving unknown persons knocking on first floor windows of residential dorms on the South 40.

Screen Shot 2019-01-28 at 10.37.25 AMGraphic by Josh Zucker

In a Jan. 24 email, Residential Life and WUPD wrote that they were “notified that an unidentified person was observed in the rear of Shepley Residence Hall on the South 40.”

According to the email, two similar incidents were previously reported in fall 2018.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild said the first incident happened Sept. 24 around midnight when a first floor Park resident reported to their Residential Advisor that someone had knocked on their window. The second incident happened Nov. 11 around 5:30 p.m. when a first floor Wheeler resident reported to WUPD that similarly, someone had knocked on their window.

The most recent incident happened Jan. 21 around 11:30 p.m. when a first floor resident of Shepley reported to Residential Life that someone came and knocked on their window. In the email, Glenn and Executive Director of Residential Life Kawanna Leggett reported that the person also attempted to talk with the person inside the room. They report that the student then closed their window blinds and reported the disturbance to their RA.

Wild said that after all of the incidents, WUPD increased patrols around the exteriors of buildings. Following the most recent occurrence, Residential Life and WUPD elected to send a joint email reminding all residents of the South 40 to be safe and listing resources available to students such as escorts through Bear Patrol or with a WUPD officer.

According to WUPD Chief Mark Glenn, Residential Life and WUPD also chose to send the email in order to encourage students with similar experiences to report them.

“We wanted to make sure we had the full breadth of what’s going on,” Glenn said. “If they’re happening, additional instances, we want to compare them to these to just insure we have a full understanding of what’s going on as well as any additional evidence or descriptions that might come forward.”

Glenn says WUPD does not know whether any of the disturbances were perpetrated by students, and is treating the three incidents as isolated. However, Glenn says that descriptions of the person from the last two incidents were “pretty similar.”

“The last two descriptions were pretty similar with the dark clothing, thin build; those were the main consistencies,” Glenn said.

The email stated that a “Residential Life/WUPD group has begun an evaluation of current safety measures to develop recommendations to enhance safety and security systems.”

“We decided to do a full evaluation of lighting, CCTV, card access, the fence and everything. It’ll be a pretty inclusive assessment. Bob Wayne from our staff, who’s a certified crime scene specialist will be taking the point in the police department on that as well,” Glenn said. “I’m hoping we get a bulk of the work done…by the end of the week.”

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