Dahmer’s apartment ‘had a stigma to it’

Dahmer's name recently resurfaced in the national news, as possibly being connected with the 1981 murder of Adam Walsh, son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, although Walsh has rejected the theory.,”

Legacies from a mid-1990s campus building project can be seen all around campus, including the Campus Town apartments, Cudahy Hall and Valley Fields. But there's one thing you can't see: the home of Jeffrey Dahmer.

Dahmer's name recently resurfaced in the national news, as possibly being connected with the 1981 murder of Adam Walsh, son of "America's Most Wanted" host John Walsh, although Walsh has rejected the theory.

The Campus Circle Project, a public-private initiative sponsored by Marquette and area businesses to revitalize the Marquette neighborhood, destroyed the Dahmer house in November 1992.

According to university archives, in August 1992 the project purchased the Oxford Apartments, 924 N. 25th St.

The project bought the building for $325,000, far below its potential value of $500,000 – not because of its bad condition but because of who had lived there.

It was in that apartment building of 49 small one-bedroom apartments that Dahmer lured young men to his apartment and murdered them. He eventually admitted to killing 15 people.

According to Michael Krzewinski, adjunct assistant professor of social and cultural sciences, the Dahmer case put the whole community in a lot of fear.

At the time of the case, Krzewinski was a detective for the Milwaukee Police Department and investigated the case. The day after Dahmer was arrested, Krzewinski searched Dahmer's apartment for evidence.

"His apartment had a stigma to it and became a curiosity in the neighborhood," he said.

This led to the razing of the building.

"His apartment was rigged with phony alarms and cameras to make people believe he had an alarm system," which would deter thieves from breaking in and discovering his victims, Krzewinski said.

"Dahmer knew what he was doing was wrong and didn't want to get caught," he said.

District Attorney E. Michael McCann prosecuted Dahmer under the national spotlight in the summer of 1991 after police found his victims' dead bodies in his apartment. Dahmer was sentenced to 937 years in prison on July 25, 1991. He was killed in prison in Portage, Wis., in 1994.

McCann joined the faculty at Marquette this spring semester. He is now the Boden Teaching Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Law at Marquette Law School.

Because of the proximity of Dahmer's apartment to Marquette, the crimes hit close to home.

Krzewinski said the neighborhood was at a high level of fear and apprehension because people, especially around Marquette, were unsure if they had known or seen Dahmer around.

It is difficult to find adult victims because the police don't have to search for missing adults. The people who were actually killed by Dahmer may have just left town, police thought.

"Nobody knew the victims were dead until after the fact," Krzewinski said. "People didn't know there was a serial killer on the loose."

According to Carlos Garces, senior assistant dean of undergraduate admissions, the Dahmer case was one factor of 'a lot of factors' that led to a decrease in applications in the early 1990s.

For the 1991 fall semester, Marquette received 6,081 undergraduate applications. The next year, undergraduate admissions received 5,531 and the year after that it received 5,316 applications, Garces said.

For the fall 2007 semester, the office of undergraduate admissions has received 13,227 applications.

Garces attributed the increase of applicants in recent years to many factors, including the Campus Circle Project, which "benefits Marquette every day," he said.

According to a Tribune article from Aug. 27, 1991, the Dahmer case was not mentioned at freshman orientation that year.

In the article, Crime Prevention Coordinator Paul Anderson said the case was unrelated to Marquette security.

"It's a really tragic incident but it has no impact," he was quoted as saying. "We had no students that knew Dahmer or were affiliated with him or any of his victims."

Marquette received a bad name in national news reports because the location of Dahmer's apartment was usually described as right off the Marquette campus.

"I thought it was unfortunate that they related the area to Marquette as heavily as they did," said Gary Grabowski in the article, father of a freshman student at the time.