The photo above, taken from bustedmaps.com, shows the number and locations of thefts (noted by tan icons, includes strong-arm robberies, armed robberies and vehicular thefts,) criminal complaints (noted by purple icons) and battery occurrences (noted by red icons) within the 53211 area code, more specifically the UWM housing area. Dates from Sept. 6, 2014 (start of semester) to Dec. 1.
Crime and student safety is a concern on any college campus. It has been of particular concern here on the UWM campus over the last few years.
UWM’s 2014 Clery Act report, an annual security report required for universities by the U.S. Department of Education, reports 0 on-campus robberies, one non-campus robbery, one public-property robbery, 15 on-campus burglaries and nine non-campus burglaries for 2013.
Anyone who pays attention to the e-mail safety alerts knows that two robberies last year cannot be accurate. This is because the Clery report only uses cases that were on campus or handled by UWM Campus Police. A further look into robberies in the area shows a higher number. In the 53211 zip code, which spans from southward from Shorewood down North Ave. and east from the river to the lakefront, there were 14 robberies, 24 burglaries, 340 thefts and 12 auto thefts in 2012, the most recent year reported by city-data.com. These numbers also do not take into account the robberies and crimes that go unreported.
These robberies can be in plain daylight like it was for Kaylie Ladwig, a UWM student who was robbed near the corner of Newberry Blvd. and Maryland Ave. “Two guys ran up behind me, pushed me down, grabbed my phone and headphones and ran to a van with no license plates,” said Ladwig.
The security report provides a list of guidelines for personal safety provided by UWM Police. One of these guidelines is using B.O.S.S., Housing Shuttles, and S.A.F.E. Walkers after dark. A problem that students, including Ladwig, face are the rules for using these services, including only allowing current UWM students with UWM ID. “I’ve had situations where I wish I could’ve taken B.O.S.S. and couldn’t take it,” says Ladwig.
Other tips that the security gives for students are to “pay attention to what is happening around you” and to “avoid the use of headphones and personal electronic devices while walking as these can distract your attention and/or attract thieves.”
When the Milwaukee Police came to talk to Kaylie about her robbery they gave similar advice. They also mentioned something pretty dismal for campus safety. Kaylie says the officers told her “It’s been getting worse,” adding that “they don’t see it ending anytime soon.”