SF State community prepares for Halloween in wake of armed robbery
At the start of Halloween weekend, SF State students received an email notification regarding an armed robbery that took place on campus early Friday morning.
“At approximately 1:45 AM on October 28th, three unknown males gained entry to the first floor of Mary Park Hall via the exit doors located at Lake Merced Boulevard and South State Drive,” said Luoluo Hong, VP of student affairs in the email. “An SF State student who opened the door for friends to enter was pulled outside by three males and robbed of his iPhone 6 at gunpoint. The student stated all three males ran from Mary Park Hall towards Winston Drive and fled in a four-door gray sedan.”
With the recent armed robbery, in addition to the kickoff of Halloween celebrations, the University police department has initiated steps in preparing for potential circumstances that may lie ahead.
“Halloween is on a Monday, so in that respect it’s kind of good, since it’s a school night. However, I’m sure there will be some celebrations over the weekend, so what we’re preparing to do is to increase our patrol,” said Jason Wu, head of the University police department. “We’re going to bring more people in, do some additional patrols and even utilize our campus safety specialists.”
Though the robbery took place on campus, some students are staying calm and have decided to stay inside of their dorms this holiday.
Monique Rojas, pre-criminal justice major, currently lives in Mary Ward Hall and planned to stay indoors on Halloween weekend.
“It’s a good choice to stay in, because it’s kind of scary to be out on Halloween,” Rojas said.
Though the robbery took place inside of her dorm building, she remains comfortable staying home while being aware of the potential circumstances.
“It’s kind of something you want to keep at the back of your mind, like be careful, but as long as you’re never alone you’ll have better chances of being okay,” Rojas said.
Like Rojas, Sofia Irigoyen is a resident of Mary Ward Hall who also planned to stay inside of her dorm during Halloween festivities. Though she is aware of the robbery that took place in her dorm building, she remains unafraid and appreciates the heightened security University police will be providing.
“That makes me feel safer walking around,” Irigoyen said. “I think with more security on hand it will prevent any situations like that from happening.”
But even with the increased security, some students remain anxious of possible dangers that come with taking part of Halloween festivities.
Criminal justice major, Patricia Castro, is an RA in the Towers dorms. Castro states that she has always been attentive to potential risks of being out late, but with the wake of the latest armed robbery she plans to be even more vigilant.
“What if I come home at 3 a.m. and the campus is empty? This is something that I’m definitely going to think about,” Castro said. “I carry pepper spray and I’ll do what I have to, to defend myself.”
In addition to heightened security, Wu recommends students look into on-campus services.
“We have the care program so if you feel that there’s a need for you to be transported for safety reasons, call our campus CARE line, and that’s available 24-7,” Wu said.
In addition to the CARE line, if in need of assistance, Wu recommends utilizing the emergency phones located around campus. When a phone is picked up, it automatically directs callers to University police dispatch center.
“Like anything else, robberies, thefts, they’re crimes of opportunities. It’s not something that’s 100% preventable, but we can minimize incidents by having a lot more self-awareness and practicing a lot more safety,” Wu said. “If you see something, say something. If you see something suspicious – don’t wait, call the police.”