University of Chicago addresses security concerns over graduate murder – NBC Chicago
The University of Chicago held a meeting Wednesday night on the growing concern over crime and violence in the Hyde Park neighborhood and what is being done differently to prevent another tragedy.
Some university students say they are concerned for their safety following the robbery and murder of Shaoxing Zheng, also known as Dennis. He is the third University of Chicago student killed so far this year.
“When a member of the community is hit, we lose a part of ourselves. The void left by the loss of Dennis and the promise of his life will never be filled, ”said university president Paul Alivisatos. “We share the grief felt by Dennis’ family and friends and those in our immediate community and communities on the south side.”
University leaders, as well as the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. David Brown, addressed safety and security issues on and around campus, from reports of gunfire to thefts.
“We immediately expanded our resources and are now pursuing new innovative partnerships and initiatives to express our security challenges,” said Eric Heath, U of C associate vice president for safety and security.
Since last week’s tragedy, the university has said it has increased patrols, added more police cameras and expanded its free ridesharing program. The university announced the launch of new 24-hour strategic operations centers, allowing U of C police to share information and data in real time. The school is also in the process of establishing a victim service unit to provide advocacy and support to victims of violent crime.
“I would like to state unequivocally that safety is my top priority,” said Alivisatos. “We are working diligently to make it safer on and around campus. “
Brown said CPD has added additional agents and plans to add more by the end of the year. He would like to see more combat patrols and what he described as road safety missions to deter or capture criminals.
“Think about this offender, he was in a stolen car,” Brown said. “If we had had any traffic safety assignments in or around campus, we could have stopped and arrested him for being in a stolen car before he even committed the theft. So the more road safety missions there are, the more chance you have of deterring offenders and / or capturing them before they can commit a crime.
The university is hosting a memorial service for Dennis Zheng on Thursday. The public is invited to attend the 3 p.m. service at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.