By Jess Livinghouse
Despite recent reports of muggings and violent crimes near Loyola University Chicago’s Water Tower Campus, many students say they feel safer downtown than they do at the Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park.
Even though its located in Chicago’s wealthy Gold Coast, there have been several recent crimes near Loyola’s Water Tower Campus:
- A purse snatcher attacked a woman during the height of Black Friday shopping on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
- Earlier in November, a suburban man was wounded in a stabbing outside the Westin Hotel on North Michigan Avenue.
- Finally, in October, a man was shot in the thigh on East Chestnut Street, just blocks from the Water Tower Campus.
Despite these recent crimes, Loyola students say they generally feel safe taking classes in the tony Gold Coast and just steps from the Magnificent Mile. And they feel safer there than at the Rogers Park campus.
One such student, Andrea Larsen, 20, a junior advertising and public relations, marketing double major, attributes her sense of security to the size of the campus.
“All my classes are across the street from each other…so I don’t spend a lot of time walking around the neighborhood,” Larsen said.
Other students, like Nick Weiner, 20, a junior management and music composition double major, believe Campus Safety has a strong presence in the neighborhood.
“This is a very busy part of town and there’s always something going on but I can always rely on the fact that we have Campus Safety and that I will be taken care of,” Weiner said.
However, not all students have the same sense of safety downtown.
“Strangely enough, I feel safer at Lake Shore,” said Allison Clark, 19, a sophomore political science major. “At Water Tower, the CPD isn’t always present and there are lots of questionable characters around the Chicago L stop. I’ve been followed and harassed plenty of times coming home after dark. That being said I usually feel pretty safe on both campuses.”
Milan Aguirre, 18, a freshman communications major, believes the number of people around Water Tower make it a safer place.
“Being surrounded by so many people, that means I’m surrounded by a bunch of potential witnesses, you know?” Aguirre said.
Sofia Carlson, 20, a junior journalism major isn’t taking any chances though.
“I still have to be aware of my surroundings,” Carlson said. “It’s not terrible, but I still feel like I have to watch my back and I don’t have my phone out when I’m on the street.”
Water Tower Campus Safety Sgt. John O’Ryan says that students need to be aware of the different types of crime that occur.
“A lot of the criminals around Water Tower are just opportunists, as opposed to Rogers Park where there are more issues with gangs and what not,” O’Ryan said. “We are fortunate that the crime around Water Tower is rarely against students. If you do see something suspicious though, be sure to alert Campus Safety right away…the key is to always be aware and to make sure you look out for each other.”