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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Crime on campus not taken lightly

Two masked men, one of whom had a handgun, approached a student walking home on Overbrook Avenue near N 58th Street on Jan. 24 at 9:15 p.m.

The men pulled the victim behind Overbrook Avenue Gospel Hall and she started to scream, which caused the perpetrators to flee the scene and allowed the student to call the police.

“I am focused very heavily on trying to prevent these things by deploying people, putting a lot of options out there for transportation, and hiring armed police,” said Arthur Grover, director of the Office of Public Safety and Security.

In addition, there is a safety option called Sound Grenade that was created for students on college campuses, like St. Joe’s, that they can use in times where they feel unsafe.

“The CEO was looking for a more useful defense tool for his sister who was in college at the time. He gave her a personal alarm and she loved it, and all of her friends wanted it and that was kind of what got the initial momentum of college campuses,” said ROBOCOPP’s Marketing Director, Jill Turner.

Sound Grenade is the size of a USB drive and when the key is pulled out of the device, it makes a 120 decibel noise to alert the surrounding public of danger.

“These types of [safety devices], I think, can be useful and I have no issue at all with students using them,” Grover said. “These types of [devices] for students to utilize for their own public safety are certainly not disagreeable to me, but I think it makes sense for a person to make a judgement on.”

Grover generally regards “City Ave. as being safe.” However, he does suggest that students avoid walking alone at night.

“It’s always my preference for students to use our free transportation services (shuttles and escort vans) rather than walking from 63rd St.,” Grover said.

Students who live down near the Overbrook Train Station find the walk fearsome once it becomes dark and frequently make use of the transportation provided for them.

A St. Joe’s student walks past the corner of Overbrook and 58th (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

“I definitely think once it becomes dark outside it becomes a concern for me,” Jackie Boran, ’17, said. “I try to take Public Safety or drive to campus to avoid walking in the dark at all costs, especially with the recent and past incidents that have happened.”

The stretch from St. Joe’s to Overbrook is an area that students utilize on a daily basis going to and from classes and their residences.

“The fact that this last incident occurred a block away from campus is really concerning to me because a lot of students park on the 5800 block of Overbrook,” Boran said. “They drive to campus thinking that they are safe because they are within a block. Then everything they are trying to avoid happens. The fact that that it was literally within the perimeter of our bubble is concerning.”

However, Grover wants to assure students that the blue lights can be utilized and are still effective.

“Blue lights are all around campus but with the proliferation of cell phones some have called into question the utility of blue lights,” Grover said. “I don’t share that view. I think blue lights are a critically important piece of our technology here on campus.”

This brings into question whether safety devices, like the one mentioned before, will help with safety where the blue lights are not in reach and if the USB-like alert systems will be used instead of blue lights in the future.

“There has to be knowledge of the population of what these things are,” Grover said. “Somebody is pulling this key and a noise is being made, if it’s ignored or not appreciated, it’s a missed opportunity. I see these noise augmentation devices and blue lights as being complimentary as to how we approach safety on campus.”

Boran believes that the implementation of more patrolmen around campus will show students that St. Joe’s does care and will take the necessary precautions to keep the community safe.

“I think this affects a large amount of the student population and I think that Public Safety should increase the amount of cars on patrol because just seeing a public safety car sends the signal that ‘hey we are on the lookout and we are here for you’,” Boran said.


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