Staying safe amid increasing violence in Chicago
Chicago is currently witnessing a staggering increase in violent crime and as DePaul students get ready to start their summer vacation, it is imperative to know how to stay safe amidst what is expected to be one of the cities deadliest summers.
So far in 2016 violent crime is occurring in an unprecedented manner as the cities homicide rate is “up 52 percent, compared with the same period a year ago” while shootings have also “increased by 50 percent” according to the Chicago Police Department.
As victims of violent crimes often suffer devastating and potentially permanent mental and physical damage, it is highly advisable for students living on or around DePaul’s campus to consider the following safety practices to help ensure a fun, danger free and relaxing summer.
Follow crime related news
Being aware of the cities overall crime situation is absolutely essential for staying safe and can easily be accomplished through regularly keeping up with crime related news.
Joey Porter, a junior sociology major at DePaul, when asked about the best ways for students to stay safe, elaborated on the importance of following the news.
“I think it not only makes students far less vulnerable and susceptible to danger, but also allows them to identify recent trends with violent crimes such as areas where the crimes frequently occur, or the similarities among people that are victims, which can greatly aid in guiding individuals to safety”
Students well informed on crime related matters have a huge leg up as when out exploring the city they know to avoid certain destinations or activities based on recent trends.
Know the neighborhoods
Having a solid understanding of the neighborhoods throughout the city can greatly reduce the odds of being a victim of a crime.
Eva Swiecki a junior at DePaul studying peace justice and conflict, reflected on the importance of students acquiring a sense of which neighborhoods have the most crime.
“Being able to identify the boundaries of the neighborhoods is such an asset because the neighborhoods in Chicago are so distinguished and often just one street can separate an area full of crime from a much safer area. Making one accidental turn can very quickly take someone into a drastically different area.”
Whether spending time looking at google maps, or finding a website that identifies the different neighborhoods, it is highly recommended that students make an effort to understand
Make smart choices
While it may seem obvious, students must make smart choices and adjustments in the face of increasing crime if they are to avoid danger.
In a recent Chicago poll conducted by the New York Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation from April 21 through May 3, 1,123 Chicagoans were asked whether they had personally made any changes to their daily routines as a result of the recent increase in crime.
Of the hundred people asked on the North side of the city, sixty-nine said they did not make a change. This is startling as the data suggests many people are not taking action to prevent dangerous scenarios where DePaul’s campus is located.
A DePaul public safety officer who works the night shift on campus described some trends she notices with crime among student victims.
“The majority of crime incidents reported on campus are a result of students who go out late at night and when students are out by themselves. I get so frustrated because it has become commonplace to see students out at night with their headphones in or staring at their phone which really makes them far more vulnerable”
Students can easily prevent danger by simply making smart decisions such as always walking down busier and well lit streets at night, always traveling in groups, and never wearing headphones or anything that can be distracting while out at night.
To avoid making the summer of 2016 bloodier than it is expected to be, DePaul students must take advantage of the various safety resources on campus.
When in doubt, students should always rely on the DePaul escort service. Students can get driven anywhere on campus twenty four hours a day. Also if ever in danger, students can immediately contact emergency services with the blue security polls located throughout campus.
For more information and tips on how to stay safe this summer, students can visit the DePaul public safety website.