Break-ins, muggings occur off campus

15TH STREET HAS recently faced an increase in criminal activity this semester.

Recently, the community of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was alerted to incidents of crime in areas near campus. As the culprits have not yet been identified, it is still unknown whether members of the RPI community are responsible. This has caused much of the community to be concerned for its safety.

In the areas of 13th, 14th, and 15th streets, burglaries of varying degrees have forced citizens of the city to keep a closer eye on their property. The burglars, who have yet to be caught, have stolen possessions such as PlayStation video game consoles, television sets, other various high-end electronics, and bicycles. Currently, the Troy Police Department is working on a lead provided by an anonymous resident who reported seeing a young man in his or her residence. From this lead, police are searching for a white male between the ages of 18 and 25. The suspect is of average build and apparently has dark hair. Investigator Terrance Burns of RPI’s Department of Public Safety believes the suspect to be “a drug addict looking for a way to make some quick money.” At present, Burns mentions that there is little Public Safety can do as the crimes have been committed off-campus. This leaves them under the jurisdiction of the city police.

Another incident has occurred which is potentially more worrying to the Institute’s members. On October 5, an RPI student was accosted by two men on 14th Street while returning home. They then proceeded to rob the victim. The student reports that the two were black males, approximately six feet in height, and were wearing ski masks. Additionally, the student mentioned that one of the robbers produced what appeared to be a handgun, although this has yet to be confirmed. The culprits eventually fled with both the victim’s wallet and laptop. Fortunately, the student was left physically unharmed. As with the burglaries, this occurred off campus, so Public Safety has little sway over the investigation. As it involved a student of the Institute, however, they have slightly more influence.

Headed by Captain Robert Paul, the Troy Police Department’s Detective Unit is spearheading the investigation of both issues. While Public Safety offers assistance whenever it can, their hands are tied, according to Burns. If these incidents spread to the campus itself, however, he claims that Public Safety will do everything in its power to deal with the criminals responsible.

Until the culprits have been caught, Public Safety—and, by extension, the Troy Police Department—urges students to use the shuttle and bus systems available whenever possible. They stress that students should never walk alone, particularly at night. They also ask that if any member of the Rensselaer community has information regarding the incidents, they report it to help expedite the process.