Safety at night

According+to+the+Federal+Bureau+of+Investigation+and+WorldAtlas%2C+Milwaukee+has+become+the+sixth+most+dangerous+city+in+the+United+States.

Photo by Mazie Baldus

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and WorldAtlas, Milwaukee has become the sixth most dangerous city in the United States.

Being in the heart of Milwaukee, Marquette University experiences threats of crime related activity — especially at night.

College Factual states that in 2019, Marquette disclosed 1,308 crime-related incidents which occurred near campus or involved students.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and WorldAtlas, Milwaukee has become the sixth most dangerous city in the United States.

Halfway through 2020, Milwaukee’s homicide and crime rate nearly doubled from 2019. So far in 2021, there has been no change in rates.

The Milwaukee Police Department uploads comparisons and information about homicides, assaults, thefts and more misconducts on their database. It shows that in the year 2020, there were 26,583 confirmed crime cases in the city. These types of crime include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, theft- larceny, motor vehicle theft and arson. A 13 % increase from 2019.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that so far into 2021 there have been 119 homicides in the city.

Since Marquette is in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, it provides many safety measures to keep their students safe.

To ensure Marquette is a safe place for all students, staff and faculty, the university has their own police force on campus 24 hours of the day, seven days a week. Marquette University Police Department directly notifies and uploads every crime-related incident to every student via email so their students have as much information about every case as possible.

Marquette also provides a LIMO service, which allows students to request and utilize a shuttle to take them anywhere on campus  anytime between 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., 365 days a year. Students can request a LIMO by calling (414)-288-6363, by flagging down a LIMO from the sidewalk or by waiting at a LIMO stop.

Senior in the College of Arts & Sciences Alexis Pickard states that she does not always feel safe walking around campus at night, although she said that certain safety precautions established throughout campus make her feel safer.

“I do not exactly feel 100% safe walking around campus at night. There are things the school implicates like the blue light buttons and even having the campus police [stationed] that make me feel safer” said Pickard.

Blue lights phones provide a direct connection to MUPD by pressing the “emergency” button. Shortly after, a police operator will be on the other end. There are more than 450 Blue light and service phones throughout campus as well as off-campus.

Pickard also always tries to walk in groups regardless if she is on campus or not. Her friends try not let anybody walk alone, especially at night. If she is alone, she makes sure to call or FaceTime a friend and always has her location shared with someone she trusts. To avoid walking alone at night, she Ubers and utilizes Marquette’s LIMO service.

“I think there should be more of a presence at night just driving around campus [MUPD]. I also think they  [Marquette] could offer LIMO rides to a wider range or places and at more times that are not just late at night” Pickard said in an email.

Currently, the Marquette LIMO service extends around campus and one mile distance range off campus from the times 5 pm to 3 am. The four off-campus locations for pickup/drop-off are the Milwaukee Intermodal Station, Valley Fields, the Eleven25 at Pabst Apartments and Marquette’s Behavior Analysis Clinic.

Sophomore in the College of Health & Sciences Mia Zagar takes specific cautionary measures — carrying pepper spray on her keychain and trying to be attentive of her surroundings — to ensure her safety while walking around campus at all times.

“Usually I feel okay going from place to place on campus at night when I’m by myself,” Zagar says via email. “I feel safer walking on campus at night over in the city because there’s usually more Marquette students than random people.”

Unlike Zagar, sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences Gustavo Martinez-Hernandez feels more safe walking alone in the city than walking on campus alone.

“I feel safe walking in a group at night. If I were by myself I would not feel safe,” Martinez-Hernandez says in an email. “I feel safer walking in the city where there are more people to be witnesses. Also because we get notified of all the things that happen on campus — one [becomes] traumatized.”

Captain Ruth Peterson of the Marquette University Police Department mentioned that MUPD strives to advance safety tips to the campus community through Marquette Today. MUPD share general safety related tips, as well as encouraging all students, faculty and staff to download EagleEye.

EagleEye is a mobile BlueLight app. Users can press a button and they will be directly connected to MUPD, and their current location will also be sent to the department as long as location services are enabled.

Zagar believes that Marquette does a good job at protecting students and informing them about all crime-related incidents that happen on or near campus.

However, she said that Marquette could possibly have more MUPD officers observing campus in the evening where students can see them to ensure they all feel safe.

Martinez-Hernandez also believes that Marquette could increase their security around campus.

“MUPD provides a Marquette-centered policing service to the Marquette Community and the surrounding neighborhoods. Due to our narrow scope, we are able to provide services that are specific to the area and not spread throughout the city” said Captain Ruth Peterson of MUPD in an email.

Peterson said how there are several circumstances that affect crime rates, such as understaffed departments and an increase in repeat offenders.

“Though a combination of circumstances, some individuals are finding fewer deterrents to commit their crimes and, while our officers are doing a commendable job of apprehending suspects quickly, we are seeing that [it] is not stopping them from continuing their illicit activities when they are released from custody” said Peterson in an email.

MUPD publishes all data logs and crime data to their database to keep students and parents informed about any crime-related activity that Marquette students can be aware of and try to avoid.

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at julianna.abuzzahab@marquette.edu