State of the Neighborhood Safety Forum
On February 16, students, faculty, staff, and community members filled the Sr. Jean Multipurpose Room in the Damen Student Center for the annual State of the Neighborhood safety forum hosted by the Office of Community Relations. The forum addressed safety initiatives in the Rogers Park Community and included a panel of speakers: 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore; Roberto Nieves, Commander of the 24th District, Chicago Police Department; Shawn Sisk, CAPS Sergeant; Thomas K. Murray, Director of Campus Safety and Chief of Police; Tim McGuriman, Associate Vice President of Capital Planning, and an MV Transportation representative (shuttle and 8-RIDE provider).
The forum kicked off with Alderman Joe Moore, who discussed the safety history of Rogers Park and how much crime has reduced the last 25 years. “Per capita, this district, which is the 24th police district, is one of the safest police districts in Chicago,” said Alderman Moore, reassuring attendees amid rising shootings in Chicago after the turn of the New Year. Alderman Moore also discussed what safety programs and initiatives he has started and offered safety resources that are available to the public. To learn more, visit the Alderman's website.
Commander Roberto Nieves and Shawn Sisk encouraged residents to be aware of their surroundings and shared examples of situations they have dealt with to help attendees understand the importance of “situational awareness” – which was the common theme for the evening. "Campus Safety & CPD work in tandem. We work together to ensure the lines of communication are open,” said Sergeant Sisk. Despite these efforts, Sisk reminded everyone that Loyola resides in an urban environment, and crimes are no stranger to urban neighborhoods, regardless of increased police protection and programs.
Campus Safety’s Thomas Murray explained the consistent collaboration between Chicago Police Department work and his team. He broke down the various policies and procedures they follow to help students and residents better understand protocol when dealing with crimes. "Don't wait, or be too afraid, to call Campus Safety. We will respond to anything,” he said as he emphasized the openness of Campus Safety to calls from anyone in the local neighborhoods. For more on Campus Safety's services, visit their website. A list of safety tips can be found on the site.
Following the presentation from Campus Safety, Michael Kozlar of the Chicago Transit Authority shared the contributions the CTA has made to ensure safety of their transit users, including their anti-harassment campaign and an increase in surveillance cameras and footage.
To wrap up the forum, attendees were able to ask questions and express their concerns to the panelists. Some members of the audience requested more information be dispersed and readily available for faculty and staff to share with their colleagues, while local community members wanted clarity on whether or not they should contact Campus Safety or the Chicago Police as the immediate contact when reporting a crime. Both panelists and attendees participated in open and healthy conversations about safety and Loyola's Office of Community Relations is planning on hosting these forums more frequently, on a bi-yearly basis.
For more information or questions regarding the safety forum, contact the Office of Community Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 773.508.7450.