A student and resident of Loyola Village was mugged at gun point at approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 7. According to the Department of Public Safety, the suspects took the student’s belongings, including a phone and wallet containing her USF One Card and bank cards. The catch? Much of the USF community was not notified of the incident by email.
The student was walking eastbound on Anza St. when she was approached by two suspects, reported Public Safety. The suspects ran towards Masonic Ave. after the attack. The victim did not suffer any injuries. Information on the attack was sent out to faculty and staff via a Public Safety Bulletin, though students appear to have been left out of the notice.
Hannah Helser, administrative coordinator at Public Safety, said that an email was sent out to all students and faculty on Tuesday, Sept. 10 around 3:15 p.m. She suggested that there may be an issue with Information Technology Services (ITS). Usually when an incident like this occurs, “we do put these emails out immediately,” Helser said.
However, students are claiming that they still have not been notified. “It is in the best interest of students to know what parts of campus are more dangerous and when to avoid them,” Chloe Owens, a junior environmental science major said. “I still didn’t get the email and no one else seems to know about it either,” Owens said.
Email notices regarding on-campus crimes are typically sent to students through their USF Dons email accounts. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) website states: “In the event that a situation arises, either on or off campus, that in the judgement of the Director of Public Safety, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat, a campus wide ‘timely warning’ will be issued. The warning will be issued through the college e-mail system to students, faculty, and staff.”
A report of the attack is available on the DPS website under the most recent “Timely Warnings” link.
A brief student survey conducted by Foghorn staff indicated that most students were not notified of the crime via email. Out of 37 anonymous student responses, 24 answered “no” when asked if they had received an email from the Public Safety Bulletin regarding a crime committed on campus on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Four students answered “yes,” while nine answered, “I don’t know.” Of those who responded “yes,” none received the email on Sept. 10, the day the Public Safety Bulletin was posted and sent to faculty and staff.
ITS staff believes the mistake was made by Public Safety. “From what I can see, [the email is] only sent to the faculty and staff. It could have been a mistake because I feel like they would have emailed it to everybody. I’m guessing [the mistake] is on Public Safety’s end,” ITS technician Kristen Scarpa said.
Students are concerned why events like this keep happening, and worry that recent Public Safety patrol isn’t heavy enough. “I’ve heard of Public Safety breaking up off-campus parties, yet real crimes are happening on campus that they are passing up. They need to prioritize,” Bernadette De Mesa, junior communications major said.
As for what Public Safety is doing to prevent future incidents, “Our officers are definitely aware of the incident and are in contact with SFPD,” Helser said. Anza St. is under SFPD’s jurisdiction, and Public Safety drives down Anza, Masonic and sometimes Geary Blvd, according to Helser.
Helser encourages students never to walk with a phone or headphones exposed, especially when alone because, “a lot of crimes we see like this are crimes of opportunity.”
For more tips on how to stay safe, visit: www.usfca.edu/Public_Safety/Crime_Prevention/