EPD identifies 2 suspects in attack probe

Sheila Burt and Sheila Burt

Evanston Police Department officials said they have identified two suspects in recent attacks on students and released information about a detailed security plan during a quarterly crime prevention meeting Thursday.

Northwestern officials also pledged at the meeting to improve existing police services for students.

University Police has identified one suspect in connection to an Oct. 3 attack on a male student and another in connection with a similar Oct. 26 attack, UP Chief Bruce Lewis said. No arrests have been made.

A male student was attacked Oct. 3 by three assailants, two in ski masks, near Sherman Avenue and Noyes Street. Another male victim was attacked Oct. 26 by three to five men near the Foster-Walker Complex.

Lewis also released details about UP’s five-component plan at the meeting “to enhance security and safety in light of the recent incidents.”

Under the plan three private, unarmed security officers will patrol areas around campus, Lewis said.

The officers, who Lewis said started patrolling Thursday night, will watch areas near the Sorority and Fraternity quads, and between University Library and Norris University Center. The officers will patrol in golf carts with yellow strobe lights at hours Lewis said were determined by the pattern of past assaults.

Other provisions of the plan include using uniformed police officers to help the security guards and informing people about incidents and prevention methods.

All of these provisions are additions to UP’s regular patrol force, which contains 18 officers on the Evanston Campus, according to Assistant Chief Daniel McAleer.

Lewis said UP also is considering placing surveillance cameras, which will not be monitored, in public areas such as Norris, the library and parking lots.

Although Lewis said UP increased security after the first attack, he described UP’s new effort as “more concentrated” and “more intense.”

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, said the police “have been doing an outstanding job” since the first attack Sept. 27.

Banis said increased lighting off campus — an issue over which the university has tried to work with the city — will become a greater concern this quarter. Banis said lighting on the west side of Sheridan Road needs to be boosted, even though it might involve areas in the Northeast Evanston Historic District, where the university must receive city permits to make changes.

“We wish the city would be stepping up to the plate more than it has been,” Banis said. “If this partnership is going to work, we need to have people at both tables.”

Officials from the Escort Service and Transportation Services also presented detailed information about improvement efforts.

Jamie Jimenez, an Escort Service administrator, said the service is dealing with a shrunken pool of workers after students who initially were hired later requested to be substitutes.

She said she received 10 to 12 requests for applications this week.

Vickie Cook, a Women’s Coalition member and Take Back the Night co-chairwoman, said at the meeting that students often must wait more than an hour for an escort. Cook, a Weinberg senior, said the wait time for student escorts was 15 to 20 minutes at other schools she researched.

Cook and other Women’s Co officials said they plan to address concerns at upcoming Evanston City Council meetings.

Correction: Department misstated (Nov. 4, 2003)

A story in Friday’s Daily incorrectly stated the police force that identified two suspects in recent attacks on students. Evanston Police Department identified the suspects.

The Daily regrets the error.