Staying alert the best way to be safe, UIC Police advise

UIC Police car[Editor’s note: UIC Police said that further investigation of an Oct. 7 crime, originally reported as aggravated kidnapping, determined that the student entered the car voluntarily.]

It’s tempting to text, talk on the phone or listen to music while walking around campus, but you’re safest when you don’t, says UIC Police Commander Kathryn Kajari.

“Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of the people walking behind you and next to you, and if at any time you feel uncomfortable, cross the street or call to someone and make it appear that you’re with them,” said Kajari, commander of administrative services.

“People need to not be distracted at all when they are on the street.

“The best advice of all is to walk in groups — that deters most potential robbers.”

Students were the victims of three unrelated robberies near campus Sunday and Monday. Still, UIC “is not an unsafe campus,” Kajari said.

“It’s a safe campus but it’s in an urban area,” she said. “I don’t care what urban area a college campus is in, there will be some opportunists who take advantage of students.

“All it takes is one person intent on getting property from another person. It can happen anytime, anywhere, to anybody.”

In 99.9 percent of all robberies, the offender is after property and not out to injure the victim, Kajari said.

“Give your property up — it can always be replaced,” she said. “You cannot be replaced.”

Resist if an offender demands that you get into their car but doesn’t display a weapon, Kajari said.

“Once you get into the car, you’re at the bad guy’s mercy,” she said. “It’s always best to resist that if at all possible.”

A student was the victim of an armed robbery at 12:50 a.m. Sunday on Racine Avenue, south of Taylor Street.

The student was walking south on Racine when a four-door, white Chevrolet Impala (partial Illinois license plate A3) stopped and two men got out. Although the student originally told police he was forced into the backseat, police later determined that he got in the car voluntarily.

One suspect displayed a handgun and demanded the student’s property. He gave the suspects a laptop, iPhone and credit cards. They let him go at an unknown location and drove away.

The student, who was not injured, ran east and flagged a Chicago Police squad car at 1100 S. Throop St.

Suspects were black males, age 20 to 26. One was 6-feet-3-inches tall with short hair and wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. He had a small, black-and-silver automatic handgun. The second suspect was 5-feet-4-inches, with black hair in long dreadlocks.

At 5:30 p.m. Monday, a student was walking south on Halsted Street near Roosevelt Road while talking on the phone. An man approached the student, demanded his phone and struck him in the face. A second man grabbed the student’s headphones and the men fled. UIC Police quickly caught and arrested one suspect; police are seeking a second suspect, who has been identified.

Later Monday, a student was the victim of an armed robbery and battery at 9:55 p.m. in the alley behind the 700 block of South Western Avenue. The student was approached by an offender who had a handgun. The student gave the suspect money and a mobile phone but the offender struck the student in the face with his weapon. The student suffered minor injuries but did not seek medical treatment.

The suspect was described as a black male, 28 to 33 years old, about 5-feet-8 to 5-feet-10-inches. He was clean-shaven with black hair, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, dark jeans and armed with a black handgun.

The suspect ran north through the alley.

Call the UIC Police at 312-996-2830 with information.

Arrests in robbery, attempted bike theft
The UIC Police/Chicago Police Department Robbery Joint Task Force last week arrested a Chicago man for the Sept. 17 strong-arm robbery of an iPhone from a female student in the 1300 block of South Halsted Street.

George Harris, 20, was charged and held in Cook County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Police are searching for the second offender, who drove a white SUV getaway vehicle.

A Chicago man was arrested by police responding to a bicycle theft in progress Thursday at Thomas Beckham Hall. Police searched the man, who was identified by witnesses, and found tools used to cut bicycle locking cables.

Stevie Slater, 50, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery to a police officer, one felony count for possession of burglary tools, two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and one count of attempted theft.

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