Just two days prior to classes starting, four or five male individuals approached a student on campus, asking to use his phone. The student was struck on the head and fell to the ground before he managed to escape into Seymour Hall.
This attempted robbery is the first to occur on campus grounds since 2014.
Last February, two robberies occurred south of campus. Director of Campus Safety Mark Welker suggested that even though these crimes have happened recently, he does not believe there is a trend of violence happening on the Knox campus.
“I don’t like to get into trends.We live in the real world and sometimes these things happen, but I don’t see that this is happening more frequently,” Welker said.
According to the Campus Crime Statistics in the 2016 Knox Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, two robberies were reported at Knox between 2013 and 2015.
Unlike most of the other crimes that are recorded in the Safety Report, robbery is typically committed by someone who is not associated with the college. Individuals from off-campus are largely responsible for this type of violent crime, which in part is what separates it from the similar crime of burglary.
The 2016 Safety Report defines burglary as “The unlawful entry of a structure to commit a felony or a theft. ” Meanwhile, the report defines robbery as “The taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody or control of a person or person’s by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”
Burglaries occur much more frequently than robberies. From 2013-2015, 27 burglaries occurred while there were only two robberies Ñ all of which took place on campus. According to the 2016 report, four of the 14 burglaries in 2013 were committed by the same individual, a student who was later expelled.
Compared to other American Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) schools, Knox follows only Colorado College for the most burglaries taken place on or near campus. Knox is tied with Colorado College for the highest rates of robbery on or near campus between the years 2013-2015 when compared to other ACM schools.
The attempted robbery is an ongoing investigation by the Galesburg Police Department. Welker was unable to release specific information.
“It may have been juveniles,” Welker said.
While Welker does not see the recent attempted robbery as part of a trend, he does believe it is significant that it happened on campus. He explained that much has been done to make the Knox campus as safe as possible in order to prevent these attacks from occurring.
“We’ve set up emergency phones all over, but you can’t prevent everything,” Welker said. “Sometimes it might be a good idea to just give the person whatever they’re asking for. You can replace a phone.”