Columbia Assaults Make Local News; Campus Alert Nonexistent
Written by Bwog Staff
News trucks for the local ABC and FOX affiliates were spotted outside of Ricky’s, to report on a series of assaults that took place on Sunday night. Seven students were assaulted between 12:00 and 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning, between 113th and 122nd Streets, along both Amsterdam and Broadway. Only one student was actually robbed, according to ABC7’s report, but all were physically assaulted.
Happily, the suspects were clearly captured on video camera, which led to a picture of them (seen at right, courtesy the Department of Public Safety) in a campus alert from Public Safety. One suspect has been arrested.
Yet, despite posters being put up in a few locations on campus, and a short report carried in the Spectator, in almost two days since the incident, Columbia University Public Safety has made no other comments to any press at this time, nor has it sent out an email alert to the campus. Bwog repeatedly contacted Public Safety for comment, but was told to talk to Public Affairs.
We will keep you updated as more news comes in.
Photo from Public Safety via Spectator
UPDATE 9:43 PM, TUESDAY: As several commenters have noted, Barnard students received a security alert late last night. This email is below, courtesy of Bwog informant Robyn Schneider.
UPDATE 10:56 PM, TUESDAY: Law students received a similar email late Sunday night as well. Hat tip to law schooler John Koerner.
UPDATE 9:33 AM, WEDNESDAY: Columbia Public Safety has circulated via e-mail a PDF message from James McShane. Contents after the jump.
UPDATE 12:45 pm, THURSDAY: NYPD Arrests 5 Suspects
To the Barnard Community,
The following Security Alerts have been posted by Columbia University. Photos of suspects wanted for the Assault crimes will be posted on the red security boards throughout our campus. I am sending this out as a reminder to always be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings. AVOID distractions and ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when you are expected back.
Columbia University Department of Public Safety SECURITY ALERT: ROBBERY/ASSAULTS
On Sunday, October 12, 2008, between midnight and 1a.m. seven students reported that they were assaulted in several different incidents while walking near the Morningside campus. In at least one case, the suspects took property from the victim. The students report being approached and/or surrounded by a group of five to seven black males ranging in age from 20-25 years old. The victims were physically assaulted by the group. The suspects attacked victims in various locations including West 113 St. near Broadway, West 114 St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave., West 117 St. and Amsterdam Ave., and West 122 St. and Broadway.
If you have any information about these crimes or are aware of any other incidents, contact the 26 Pct. Detective Squad at 212-678-1351, 52 or 53.
If you observe anyone acting in a suspicious or threatening manner, dial 911 immediately and attempt to find a safe location.
There has been a spike in bike thefts on the Columbia campus. Please do not use any type of wire / cable locks to secure your bike, they can easily be cut and your bike stolen. Please use a U-shape type lock to secure your frame & tire to a bike rack. Please avoid securing your bike to a handrail, stairwell or to the poles and chains that separate the grass and cement on the Low Plaza or College Walk. These poles can easily be removed and your bike stolen.
To see a complete list of bike rack locations on campus please visit the CU Public safety website www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety
Campus Bike racks are for daily use, NOT for long time storage.
CU Public Safety offers FREE bike registration with the NYPD & CU by appointment, a unique ID number is engraved on the bike and a non-removable Police sticker is placed on the bike.
Public Safety also offers discount bike locks as little as $15.
The Club Ultra U-lock- $15
The Krytonite NY U-lock- $50
The NY Forgetaboutit Chain- $75
Bike locks can be purchased in room 111 Low Library Mon-Fri 9a-5p. Morningside Campus
At the Medical Center campus 24 hrs in room 109 William Black Bldg.
For more information on bike registration & bike locks please call 854-8513.
A Message to the Columbia Community from Vice President for Public Safety James F. McShane
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
As you may already know, a number of members of the Columbia community were assaulted late Saturday evening near campus. I am writing to update you on the status of this investigation and to inform you of some important Public Safety services that are available to you. With respect to the investigation, one of the suspects was apprehended that night after being identified by a witness. At this point, we believe that all of these assaults were committed by the same group of young men over an approximately 50 minute period. Our video security system has provided the police and public with essential information in the investigation. We are, therefore, hopeful that additional arrests will be made shortly.
In the meantime, I would like to remind you of some important things that our Department of Public Safety has been doing to maintain the security and well being of our University community.
First of all, uniformed Public Safety personnel are stationed at fixed locations throughout the Morningside area and on the uptown Medical Center campus. These include guard booths at the main gates on 116th Street at both Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These posts are supplemented by foot , bicycle and motorized patrols that provide a highly visible presence in the areas around both campuses. In recent months, we have increased our foot and motorized patrols throughout the area.
All of our undergraduate residences are staffed by Public Safety personnel or trained student aides who control access to these buildings on a 24 hour basis. All students and visitors are screened.
We also operate two 24-hour emergency operations centers, one on each campus. On the Morningside campus, we can be reached in an emergency by dialing 212-854-5555 on any phone. For routine business, you can reach us by calling 212-854-2797. At the Medical Center, the emergency response number is 212-305-7979.
There is also an extensive system of video cameras that we use to investigate crimes. In addition, emergency call boxes, that connect directly to our 24 hour operations centers, are installed in strategic locations across both campuses and surrounding areas.
Last year we introduced a text messaging system which can be used to transmit emergency messages to portable devices such as cell phones. Initially, the service was available only to the student body. This year, it was made available to faculty and staff, as well.
Finally, we have a staff of highly trained investigators who work hand in hand with the N.Y.P.D. to investigate matters that relate to the Columbia campuses. We are in daily contact with the 26th Precinct detectives.
We also employ a number of Crime Prevention Initiatives of which not everyone may be aware. For example, we operate a Morningside Heights shuttle service that provides scheduled service throughout the Morningside campus area during the evening hours, between 7:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. Thereafter, this shuttle service offers on-call service between 11:00 P.M and 2:00 A.M. daily. This service ranges as far south as 103rd Street and as far north as 135th Street. Resources permitting, we supplement this service with patrol vehicles. Last semester we added an additional point to point shuttle vehicle which operates between the hours of 10 P.M. and 6 A.M.
We also offer an escort service where trained students will accompany you to your door any time from 7:00 P.M. until 3:00 A.M. This service is available between 108th Street and 122nd Street. At the Medical Center, escorts are available between W. 165th Street and W. 181st Street. For this service, call 212-854-SAFE on the Morningside Campus and 212-305-8100 on the Medical Center Campus.
Additionally, Operation “Safe Haven” provides 65 storefront locations across both campuses where people who may feel threatened can take refuge. The merchants will call Public Safety and/or the N.Y.P.D. who will respond immediately. Look for the “Red Lion” sticker in the window of the store.
Finally, we are sponsoring a ‘Street Smarts’ seminar on Wednesday, October 29th, at 6 P.M. in Jerome Green Hall, Room 103. This seminar will feature important crime prevention presentations from members of Public Safety and the N.Y.P.D. All are invited to attend.
The Department of Public Safety is here to keep you safe. We look forward to working together with all of you to keep our environment secure. I encourage anyone with a concern to contact Public Safety at 212-854-2797, day or night. For more information about Public Safety and the services we provide, please also see our annual Security Report online at: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/publicsafety/SecurityReport.pdf.