Public Safety Issues Precautions

Public+Safety+Issues+Precautions

Torch Photo/Christopher Brito

Students should avoid walking and staying out late beyond campus confines.

The University’s Public Safety has taken precautions in response to the three forcible touching incidents that occurred in April.

According to Thomas J. Lawrence, Vice President of the Department of Public Safety, late night shuttle bus service has been added on Saturdays and campus patrolmen have increased their presence since these incidents have occurred.

In order to stay safe while traveling off campus grounds, Lawrence recommends that students take advantage of the new Saturday shuttle service, which operates from Henley Road to campus from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. as well as the late night shuttle service, which operates from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m.

The most recently reported incidents occurred on April 21 when two female students informed Public Safety they were victims of two separate forcible touching incidents.

According to the email sent to the University community, the first incident happened while the victim was walking  to Goethals Avenue and 162nd Street after midnight and the suspect grabbed her behind.

The second incident occurred later during the afternoon where a different victim was walking along Homelawn Street and perpetrator grabbed her from behind claiming he thought the female was someone else.

The other forcible touching incident occurred a week before on April 14 when a female student was walking to Homelawn Street and 84th Road alone in the evening until a man grabbed her from behind.

The New York Police Department’s Special Victims Unit is currently handling these cases and is working closely with the University to find the person responsible, according to the e-mail.

Public Safety is also working with the 107th Precinct’s Detective Squad and the Special Victims Unit to apprehend the individual, according to the e-mail.

Though as of press time the perpetrators have yet to be caught, Public Safety assures students that they are taking the right steps to ensure students’ safety.

Despite these unfortunate incidents, students do believe they are safe at St. John’s.

“I do feel safe even though these disturbing incidents are taking place,” senior Brennan Johnson said.“My sympathy goes out to those who are affected directly.”

“There has never been anything that I have received from Public Safety that hasn’t made me feel safe on campus,” Catherine Koenderman, who’s a junior, said.

“I trust Public Safety and the men and women that work for them to keep all the students —especially the female students— safe while we’re on campus,” she said.

Lawrence also recommends students remain alert and take caution while they are walking off campus.