Two crime alerts in 24 hours lead to more police patrols

University Police have issued two Crime Alerts in the last 24 hours.

The first incident discussed, which occurred on December 10th, was a home invasion involving assault and armed robbery. The robbery occurred around 4:45 am at the 500 block of East Healey, according to the Champaign Police Department. The suspects, who fled the scene of the crime, entered an apartment and struck the resident on the nose before taking several electronics. The apartment residents reported that they were followed home before the robbery.

The second crime occurred Friday morning at the 1200 block of W. Green Street, near the main quad. According to University Police, three men approached a young man from behind and knocked him off of his bike. The suspects demanded his wallet and backpack, which the victim gave up without a struggle. The suspects fled, and the victim was taken to a hospital and treated for an ankle injury.

University Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor said the department is unsure as to whether the two incidents are related.

“Healey is being investigated by Champaign Police, and the incident with the student on the bike is under our jurisdiction,” said O’Connor. “We’ll certainly work together to exchange information.”

Police have also promised to increase patrols in both areas as a result.

“We have officers in plain civilian clothes and in uniform patrolling the areas. We also expanded patrol to outside of campus and are working with Champaign to patrol the campus town area,” O’Connor said. “We are also considering having our staff work overtime during finals.”

With the start of finals week, students will be out around the campus late into the night, as many exams run until 10 p.m. But even with the crime alerts, many do not express serious concern.

“I think it’s common sense to be safe when out at night,” said Rachel Bonet, freshman in the College of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences. “Yeah, the crime alerts are surprising, but most people know never to go anywhere alone when it gets dark.”

Even though Kristin Morrison, freshman in LAS, has an exam that lets out at 10 p.m., she said she is too worried about the test to consider the possibility of a dangerous situation.

“I’ll walk with caution when the test lets out, but that’s something I do regardless of whether or not something like this [the assaults] happens,” Morrison said.

O’Connor stressed the importance of using the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District’s SafeWalks and SafeRides programs late at night.

“We can’t encourage it enough,” O’Connor said. “Both run pretty late hours. And if a student feels stranded, and if we have an officer available, we would see what we could do. We can’t always provide transportation, but we always want students to feel safe.”