Student robbery draws caution from students
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
The robbery of a student near South Main Street during winter session has students questioning their safety.
For senior Jonathan Frock, a night of sports and wings was rattled by a robbery at 12:50 a.m. on Jan. 26 as he walked down South Main Street, formerly known as Elkton Road. He was heading to his Madison Drive home after an evening with friends at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Frock took a shortcut to his house by walking through a small cemetery, between South Main Street and Madison Drive, when he was approached by a Caucasian male between 6 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall and between 180 and 220 pounds. The man was wearing a black ski-cap and had a goatee, Frock said, when he took $25 from Frock’s wallet.
“I recognize this guy who looks like one of my friend’s roommates,” Frock said. “He asked me for change because he was headed to Sunoco and I said, ‘Sure,’ as soon as I cracked my wallet open he grabbed all of my money.”
When Frock contacted the police, they were able to track the suspect’s footprints in the snow and determined that he ran toward West Park Place. Frock said he does not have high hopes that this issue will be resolved since no one contacted him to follow up.
Frock said though he is not upset about police not following up with the case, he thinks the police could have spent more time doing a more thorough investigation.
“It seems as soon as they wrote up the report, they forgot about it a few hours after it happened,” Frock said. “They didn’t pursue it at all.”
Freshman Jonathan Elfers, who pays attention to the university alert system, said he thinks there is enough of a police presence. He said the university offers enough preventative information but this information will not stop the crime.
“UD is doing a fine job of alerting people to the issues, it’s that the student body doesn’t care enough,” Elfers said, “They don’t pay enough attention.”
Public Safety’s Lt. Robert Simpson said there has been an overall decrease in crime on campus over the past year, however. Public Safety has some precautionary measures put in place to keep students aware of the safety resources the university has to offer, such as blue light phones located around campus and safety escorts for students when they feel endangered.
Public Safety and Newark Police advise students to carry their keys with them as they walk through parking lots and campus so they are ready once they arrive to their destination. They suggest that students lock doors and become acquainted with neighbors. They also recommend students avoid cell phone use in order to be more aware of their surroundings.
“UD Police has a community resource unit which does safety presentation for the campus community, and we also use social media to keep our community informed with safety information and known concerns,” Simpson said.
Regardless of these preventative measures, some students still feel unsafe. Senior Sylvie Smith, who also lives near South Main Street, said she does not always feel safe on campus.
Smith said she does not think a large police presence is the appropriate approach to crime in both Newark and on campus. She said she thinks police officers can often be too preoccupied with petty crimes.
“I don’t feel sure that the police or public safety were there to help me in a dangerous situation,” Smith said. “But I do feel sure that if a student steps into a fountain or writes on a trash can, the police forces will be there. They’ll be there to bust up parties, but I don’t have faith that they are there to protect my safety.”
Simpson said Public Safety routinely works with the Newark Police Department to address and assist with off campus concerns. He also said information is shared in order to further serve the student body and Newark residents.
“I am now more cautious than I am afraid,” Frock said. “I probably should have called someone or walked home with some friends instead of taking the short cut. It could have been a lot worse in this situation. I’m glad that it’s all that it was— 25 dollars.”