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Crime Alerts: Stash or Trash?


By: Rana Khatib (rkhati2@uic.edu)

Urgent: Crime Alert! Every UIC student has become familiar with these three famous words that are constantly found in our inboxes. In case you’ve never opened these emails, or need a quick refresher on what these emails entail, I’ll explain with a quick overview. Crime alerts are sent via emails that describe a dangerous situation that’s occurred on the UIC campus. The email briefly explains the assault, its location, time, and date following with safety tips from UIC police, and ending with a description of the offender.

Though these emails are created to help the student body be aware of their surroundings, and notify them that dangerous situations may occur, it questions the email’s worthiness. Many students tend to check their email if they’re expecting something from a professor and many are quick to delete any email that isn’t from a professor or fellow classmate.

Two recent crime alerts occurred in the past week, both on West campus which aired on Fox Chicago news. The first crime took place on Sunday night where a victim accepted a ride from a stranger. A backseat passenger pointed a gun at his head and stole his valuables. The second offense occurred on Monday night where a victim was attacked while walking in an alley. The offender took the victim’s wallet and phone, striking the victim in the face with a gun and ran.

The article mentions how students respond to these crimes variously; some are accustomed to the crimes, some express their concerns walking around campus when it’s dark, and some have become creative such as carrying a “fake wallet.” According to Fox’s research on the UIC website, six armed robberies occurred in the last two months alone. These two crimes are a few of the many that have happened on UIC campus.

“I honestly don’t feel anything anymore. I don’t feel scared or I don’t think it’s funny. But I do think it’s sad that we get used to these crime alerts and think it’s no big deal when we see them because they’re so common. I don’t even read them anymore for the most part,” stated UIC senior, Yasmeen Elayyan. 

Have these emails caused students to become accustomed to these emails to the point where they find the alerts humorous or do they cause students to be fearful of facing similar situations every time they’re on campus?

It seems so.

Biann Abu-Elreish, a junior at UIC stated, “Crime happens everywhere and the alerts are meant for us to take precaution, not scare us. It’s also hard to regret attending if the crime hasn’t happened to me personally. As stupid as it sounds, fear won’t be instilled until actually experienced or witnessed. And the nature of the crimes weren’t super serious either.”

Unfortunately, these emails may discourage students from wanting to continue their college careers at UIC. Regardless of the fact that crime may occur anywhere, students expect to attend class feeling safe, and not fearing bring attacked on campus.

It’s also important to question whether these emails are actually being read or sent to the trash bin. As UIC senior, Sarah Leve simply noted, “I read them, but every time I get one, I’m like, ‘oh [crap]…I hate hearing about this.’”

As previously mentioned, students rarely read every email, especially if it’s one that has become the norm.

However, some students utilize these alerts as reminders to be cautious of their surroundings. Although these emails are repetitive, each alert tells a different story, each consisting of a new victim. This purely means that it could happen to anyone, no matter how much a student chooses to read the alerts or not. Chloe Rodriguez, a senior at UIC agrees that the emails are valuable to her. She states, “I feel like they are beneficial because I know what’s going on and what areas and things to avoid.”

Well, my fellow readers, there you have it-different voices on the creation of crime alert emails. It’s uncertain whether the reporting of these alerts is recognized as a waste of time and space. While they serve as constant reminders to be vigilant, it’s difficult to determine whether or not students take these emails seriously.

UIC Police offer the following security tips:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Use all five of your senses to be alert for danger, and when walking alone, don’t wear headphones or earbuds.
  • Try to travel in groups when possible, particularly after dark.
  • Use well-lit walkways.
  • On campus, look for the location of the nearest emergency call box (there are more than 1,500 across campus).
  • The emergency number for UIC Police is 5-5555 or 312-355-5555, which should be set on speed-dial on your cell phone.
  • Report crime promptly to police.

Residence Hall Safety tips:

  • Call UIC Police immediately for all emergencies at 312-355-5555
  • Call R.A. and R.D. only after notifying police
  • Always lock doors/windows in residence halls
  • Keep blinds closed
  • Report any suspicious activity/persons to UIC Police

For resources and suggestions on how you can prevent crime, visit the UIC Police website. Other safety services: Red Car Service/Off-Hour Paratransit Service

 

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