Robbery Raises Concerns Near Off-Campus Dorm

Though the popular Fizzee’s bar is just blocks away, USF-owned off-campus dorm Pedro Arrupe, seems to have a history of quiet existence. Located on Sixth Avenue and Anza Street, the residence hall shares the same security procedures as on-campus dorms.

However, since an incident of robbery with force occurred involving three USF students just outside Pedro Arrupe on Feb. 1, residents in the off-campus hall have expressed concerns about their safety.

Public Safety Senior Director Dan Lawson explained that the incident affected three students.

“They were walking on the 500 block of Sixth Avenue when three individuals approached the students and threw them to the ground and kicked and punched them a number of times,” Lawson said. “Two of the students had no visible injuries, while one student had abrasions on their knee.”

Sophomore Sarah Medley, a Pedro Arrupe resident, witnessed the crime take place from her window around 1 a.m.

“While doing some homework, I heard a small shriek and some scuffling followed by a woman shouting for help and for the police,” Medley said. “From out my window, I couldn’t see the incident unfold, but I saw three men take off running down Anza while this woman continued shouting for help.”

Medley explained that after the incident, Public Safety did not reach out to the residents. Instead, the Resident Director sent an email providing Public Safety’s emergency line and shuttle service. The email also reminded students to “travel in groups,” “be mindful of your surroundings” and “careful what you carry with you.”

“When you witness something like that, it’s impossible not to be afraid,” Medley said. “I think it’s safe to say my safety feels compromised.”

Another Pedro Arrupe resident, sophomore Adelaide Hicks, said she was not aware of the incident until the Foghorn interviewed her. After hearing of it, Hicks said that she feels “less safe.”

The corner where Pedro Arrupe is located shows 31 incident reports so far in 2019 from DataSF, a self-reporting site for non-emergency cases. Lawson explained that, although this number seems alarming, there is a reason why.

“The Richmond [Police] Station is located [on Sixth Avenue], and often, what they will do is count reports made at the district station,” Lawson said. “There is no way that [31] crimes happened on that exact corner,” Lawson said. The reports counted are then centralized to one address point, and in this case, the corner of Sixth Avenue and Anza Street is the pinpoint.

Lawson explained the numbers from the Annual Crime and Fire Safety Report — which is a federally mandated report of crimes and fires on campus mandated by the Cleary Act — from 2015 to 2017.

Pedro Arrupe, he said, represents the non-campus property statistics. The report showed no robberies or aggravated assaults on non-campus properties for those years.

Several Inner Richmond Police Station officers explained during phone interviews that criminal activity is a rarity at and near Pedro Arrupe. One of the officers who has been working at the station for years said, “not a lot happens on this block.”

In order for Public Safety to know a crime occurred, a student or faculty member would have to file a report or call the emergency line. Lawson said the few calls Public Safety gets from Pedro Arrupe usually concern drugs and alcohol possession. Sometimes, these calls are regarding suspicious individuals lingering outside the building.

“Usually they are trying to enter to get out of the cold,” Lawson said.  

Other students, such as junior Lizzie Barlow, have heard rumors about the robbery. Barlow said she feels safe as a resident of Pedro Arrupe but is cautious when walking around the area.

“I heard someone was jumped on the other side of the street,” Barlow said. “I do not know much about it, but better be safe than sorry.”

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