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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

Public Safety hosts safety workshop for off-campus living


The St. Joe’s Public Safety department hosted a safety workshop on Oct. 6 for students who live off campus. The event was open to all students and was held in the Forum Theatre in Campion Student Center on Hawk Hill.

Olivia Agatone ’24 and Nicole DeDonatis ’24 were among the attendees. As students that currently live off campus, Agatone and DeDonatis said they took advantage of the opportunity to learn how to maximize their safety. 

“I went because after the break in, I wanted to learn how to be more aware of my surroundings and just be the most cautious in preparing for another event,” Agatone said. 

On July 19 at 4:40 a.m., three to four suspects invaded the home of a St. Joe’s student, located on the 5700 block of Drexel Road in Wynnefield, Pennsylvania. The suspects broke into the student’s basement door and proceeded to tie him up and rob him at gunpoint of his phone, wallet and laptop, according to 6 ABC Action News.  The student was not injured during the incident.

Several students have been victim to home invasions over the past few months, along with one student suffering from an injury by gunfire after an attempted carjacking. The student was parking his car outside his apartment in Overbrook the night of June 21 when two gunmen approached him and tried to steal his car. Though the theft was unsuccessful, the student was transported to a local hospital after being hit in the head with a handgun and shot in the knee, according to NBC 10 Philadelphia. 

Facilitated by Martin Havira, public safety investigator, the workshop covered topics including ways to improve personal safety, what to do when experiencing a break-in and how to utilize Public Safety and other campus crime prevention resources. One recommendation was to take advantage of the shuttle service, especially at night. The hours for the shuttle service can be found on the St. Joe’s Office and Public Safety & Security website.

“I think it’s important to host the workshops so that students can better prepare themselves and  better understand the security of their location to lessen their chances of being a victim to a crime,” Havira said. “It helps them with understanding what they should and shouldn’t do to prevent themselves from getting in a position of danger.” 

A piece of advice that Agatone said she found valuable was intentionally looking at a criminal’s shoes as a way to identify them if a home invasion was to happen in her off-campus house.

“I like the advice of looking at the sneakers because I feel like, for me, I would probably look at the face,” Agatone said. “So it was nice to know to check the sneakers and know which way he or she is going.”

The workshop is one of several efforts that Public Safety has put forth in order to increase safety around campus. Havira said they have partnered with the 19th district of the Philadelphia Police Department to increase patrols and their overall presence around campus.

Havira said in addition to holding more workshops in the future, there are plans to have safety information tables at places such as sporting events and in Campion Student Center periodically. 

“Sometimes students have studying, activities, clubs and internships, so they may not be able to attend something like this,” Havira said. “We’re looking to get it out in many different avenues in addition to having in-person events.” 

Agatone and DeDonatis both said they would recommend the event to their friends in the future, and they now feel more prepared moving forward.

“It was a lot of help talking to someone who you know knows what’s going on and knows the best precautions to take,” DeDonatis said.

Natalie Brislin ’23 contributed to this story.

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