Crime surges within campus community

The recent string of thefts and robberies both on campus and throughout the Oakland area has resulted in heightened awareness and a flood of security alerts and cautionary messages in every student’s inbox.

According to an e-mail distributed by Carnegie Mellon on April 15, three Carnegie Mellon students were the victims of two armed robbers in two separate incidents. The thefts occurred shortly after midnight within half an hour of each other and, in both cases, the robbers brandished a handgun. The first theft occurred in front of the Central Catholic High School and the second at the corner of Fifth and South Neville. A third robbery reported on April 24, again around midnight, described a similar encounter with two individuals carrying a handgun, this time on Schenley Drive.

Students are advised to take any safety precautions necessary and are especially warned against walking alone late at night. Erica Tang, a junior chemistry major and a resident assistant in Fairfax Apartments, stated that she tries to avoid this particular situation whenever possible and advises that after dark, off-campus residents “walk down Craig Street since it’s the best-lit route and the [University Police] headquarters are located there.”

The situation is being carefully monitored, not only by police, but by the housefellows and resident assistants in the Oakland apartments.

“As the events have been unfolding, we’ve been reminding our residents and re-informing them about the shuttles,” Gabe Herman, a sophomore economics and H&SS interdisciplinary major and resident assistant in the Fairfax annex, said. Herman particularly recommended the use of the shuttle and escort service, as well as “campus programs, such as SafeWalk, when coming home late.”

The recent armed robberies as well as the frequent thefts of wallets, cell phones, and small electronics seen earlier in the semester has been closely followed by campus and city police. Campus Chief of Police Tom Ogden noted in an e-mail sent out on April 14 that although “a number of arrests have been made, the number of thefts continues to grow, as has been the case nationwide due to the difficult economic times we are experiencing.”

Tang agreed with Ogden’s observation, stating that “with unemployment rates being as high as they are, it's no wonder that some people are trying to get money by other means.”

An e-mail this past Saturday, April 25, confirmed that two loaded guns had been found by a contractor of the University “in a locker located in a room on campus typically used by employees of the contractor.” The guns were later secured by University Police.

Despite this discovery and other headway made in the investigation, no final arrests in the recent armed robbery crimes have been made and students are asked to remain vigilant. Ogden expressed his belief that by working together as a community, we can “restore the trusting environment that we deserve.”