Public Safety addresses end of year robberies
Final exams caused stress, studying, coffee breaks and, apparently, off-campus robberies.
In the last two weeks of the spring semester there was an outburst of robberies of students outside the gates of Seton Hall’s closed campus. Although no one was injured during these incidents, students started to become worried about venturing off campus.
“I didn’t want to go off campus at all after the robberies happened,” said Alexandera Urbanski, a sophomore. “The few times I did leave campus I would take the SHUFLY even if it was really nice outside and could have walked. I had the mindset that if I left the gates for too long I could have been robbed too.”
The four robberies occurred at the Wilden Gate; near Grove Park; on the corner of Ward Place and South Orange Ave; and the corner of Academy Street and Second Street. In the first two robberies, the victims described young individuals stealing the victim’s cell phones. In the third robbery, the suspect claimed to be armed and stole the victim’s wallet and phone.
In the last robbery, two suspects, one with braces and one with dreadlocks, targeted two students who were forced to give up their backpacks. One of the suspects in this case revealed a handgun and demanded that the students hand their items over.
Only the suspects in the second robbery have been caught.
Although the semester is officially over, some are still worried about if the robberies are going to continue next year and what Public Safety and the South Orange Police Department are going to do to prevent more of these crimes from happening again.
“[Public Safety] will continue to work with SOPD on crime prevention strategies, including increased patrol presence and targeted enforcement,” said Patrick Linfante, Assistant Vice President and Director of the Department of Public Safety, in an email. “Student education is key, especially for the incoming freshmen class, and Public Safety will collaborate with other departments in Student Services to provide safety related information.”
Public Safety is also working closely with SOPD to have a higher patrol presence near campus.
“SOPD has deployed unmarked units and the University pays to have off duty police officers manning fixed posts outside of the gates from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. each night,” said Linfante. “SHU also provides video surveillance on the perimeter of campus and shares that information with SOPD on a regular basis. We are in the process of greatly expanding our video surveillance capability on the perimeter of campus.”
Linfante said that the SHUFly and SafeRide are available to students for their safety. “Not one SHU community member was ever the victim of a crime while using these transportation alternatives and we strongly encourage our students to take advantage of them. Aside from that, as always, travel in groups, carry a cellphone, and, if confronted, cooperate. Your personal safety far outweighs the value of any property that you may lose in one of these incidents.”
Ashley Turner can be reached at Ashley.firstname.lastname@example.org.