CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — University of Illinois Police Chief Alice Cary addressed the issue of increasing violence near the U of I campus during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” forum on Thursday afternoon.
Many students expressed their concerns for the campus community’s safety after several incidents of violence on and near campus. According to police officers, on August 21, an Illini alert was prompted by a shooting that happened on Second and Green Street. Along with the shooting, several students have reported a few cases of brutal beatings near the Green Street bars.
Chief Cary addressed this matter by letting students know that the UIPD has been proactive about handling the violence. According to her, the UIPD is adding extra patrol along the Green Street corridor during weekends. The U of I police also collaborate with the Champaign and Urbana police departments to increase patrol on Green Street. Additionally, they installed new security cameras in this area and limited after-hour access to a few parking lots. This will help mitigate the chances of group fights. The U of I police are also planning to include license plate readers in strategic areas soon.
“This is the first year (since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged) that we have all students back, so [the] Green Street corridor is a very busy place,” Chief Cary stated. “We recognize that violence doesn’t stop at the borders so we’ve been taking proactive measures to keep the campus safe, especially the Green Street on Campustown area.”
She believes violence is not a new issue on campus. However, the violence that happened on U of I campus in the last few weeks is not a normal circumstance for the campus and the Urbana-Champaign area. According to Chief Cary, this stemmed from the escalation of gun violence and crimes across the nation due to the circumstance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s not just here in Champaign-Urbana. We’ve seen a lot of communities across the country that are experiencing increases in crime. So our area and our campus are not unique to this,” said Chief Cary. “I don’t think there will ever be a completely crime-free area but we’re going to do our best to help mitigate some of the crimes on campus.”
Since the UIPD implemented new ways to keep the Campustown safer and more secured, there has been a decrease in serious incidents of violence. Everyone living on or near campus is encouraged to follow the UIPD safety guideline and utilize all available resources for their safety and the safety of others.