Nov. 10, 1994
Vol. 15, No. 6

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    Crime on decline; police issue warning about continuing scams

    Crime in Hyde Park/South Kenwood has decreased 23 percent during the first 10 months of this year compared with the same period in 1993, according to the South East Chicago Commission.

    The SECC reports that, while the actual numbers of reported incidents are very small, sexual assaults have decreased 46 percent. Robberies decreased 19 percent, purse snatchings, 35 percent; burglaries, 28 percent; auto theft, 21 percent; and theft from auto, 22 percent. Five homicides were reported during the first 10 months of 1994, compared with three homicides in 1993. None of the homicide victims was affiliated with the University.

    According to the SECC, a pattern has been detected of residential garage burglaries occurring throughout the neighborhood since August. Among the items stolen have been bicycles, snow blowers and furniture.

    The SECC and University Police also report a series of con games in which students have been victimized by strangers asking them to help dispose of allegedly found money. The victims are asked to produce "good faith" money in return for sharing the reward for the "found" money or keeping a share of the money if it goes unclaimed.

    "There are many variations on this scam," said Rudolph Nimocks, Director of University Police. "Do not talk to these people. Continue on your way and call University Police as quickly as possible at 702-8181 or by using a white emergency phone."

    Nimocks said other strangers have victimized students and residents of the community by offering to help them in some way and then taking their money. "The easiest thing to remember is to beware of strangers bearing gifts or of strangers who seem overly helpful."

    He said another scam involves a stranger calling to say he or she is collecting bail money for a co-worker or friend. "Be aware," Nimocks said, "that if a friend were picked up by the police, he or she would be given an opportunity to make phone calls. It wouldn't be necessary to have someone else do it.

    "There are a thousand scams out there," Nimocks added. "Think before you act."

    The SECC also reported that police have made arrests in five unrelated robberies and a burglary in the community during October, largely through actions taken by citizens, said Robert Richards, Law Enforcement Coordinator for the SECC.

    "Call police when you see suspicious activity or are victimized," Richards said. "Inform city police or University Police of an incident or suspicious activity as quickly as possible, and let trained officers confront suspects."

    To reach University Police, dial 123 from a campus phone, or 702-8181 from any phone, or use a white emergency phone. To reach Chicago Police, dial 911 from any phone off campus (on campus, dial 9-911).