Students urged to take precautions after robbery

After the robbery early Sunday morning, the Champaign police department and the University police are taking action to increase public safety.

Joe Gallo, Lieutenant for the Champaign City police, confirms the crime alert sent to students by the Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor.

The victim was attacked across from the intersection of Third Street and White Street. He was unaware at first that the suspect was attempting to rob him. The suspect held what felt like a gun to the victim’s back and demanded money, which the victim then gave him. Gallo confirmed that the victim was unharmed.

“Unfortunately, periodically crimes like this happen,” Gallo said.

Gallo suggests that students become more aware of their surroundings when walking to and from classes. He said that students should avoid unlit pathways when dark out. He said the public should read the tips offered by the email, which include carrying a cell phone, locking doors and trusting your instincts.

The crime on Sunday took place at 3:15 am, when not many people are on the streets. Gallo urges extra safeguard to students out late at night. He said those consuming alcohol are more susceptible to attacks and robberies.

“Intoxicated victims are easier prey,” Gallo said.

As of now this is an ongoing investigation. While there will be increased patrolling in that area to search for any leads, Gallo said it is not necessary to have twice as many patrols on campus.

“Just because you don’t see an officer, that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there,” Gallo said.

O’Connor, executive director of public safety for the University, said she believes the Champaign police are professional and will chase down any leads pertaining to the case. She said the University police are also taking new precautions. They are increasing police effort in that section of campus.

“We actively patrol that area anyway,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor also strongly advises students to take part in the effort. She said students need to read the crime alerts, be aware of their surrounding and utilize the SafeWalks program. She said the victim from Sunday’s robbing was not a student so he may not have been aware of University SafeWalks and SafeRides.

“Don’t walk alone if you don’t have to,” she said.

Chelsea Insprucker, sophomore in Media, said that she heard about the crime through the email sent to the students. She said she usually reads the crime alerts to see what has happened on campus. She had a few suggestions toward what she would like to see the police doing.

“They need to be more alert and around at night,” Insprucker said. “They need to focus more on suspicious activity rather than drinking related problems.”