Safety questions follow assault

RPI student mugged, beaten at Bleeker Avenue off-campus residence

BLEEKER AVENUE, NEAR THE SOUTHEAST CORNER OF CAMPUS, WAS the site of a reported attack on a RPI student.

On Saturday, March 22, at approximately 10:30 pm, officers of the Troy Police Department responded to an incident of robbery and assault at 21 Bleeker Avenue.

The victim, a student at Rensselaer, suffered “serious head trauma,” according to police Captain John Cooney, who spoke with The Troy Record. The student was transported to Albany Medical Center and immediately underwent surgery. Cooney later reported that the surgery was successful, and that the victim is expected to survive the physical trauma.

On Reddit, this issue has reignited a debate among users of the RPI subreddit regarding safety in the Troy area. One individual, who posted under the username Volto, commented, “That area always has been really sketchy, last year a kid was smashing car windows.” Another user, JoJoDaMonkey, said, “I liked living on Highland, but there were some unsavory characters.”

However, there were some commenters that defended the area, including ameraman1, who said, “I’ve been living on Bleeker Ave. for two years without any problems. This seems to be an isolated incident. This area is no more sketchy than other [off-campus] areas, and I feel safe living here.”

Although the incident is still under police investigation, Cooney told Time Warner Cable News of Albany that, “Some reports tell us there may have been drug sales at the house earlier in the day with the person responsible not being at the house at the time of the burglary.” Police have also concurred with ameraman1’s statement, believing this to be an isolated event.

This incident follows another mugging, which occurred about one month ago near the corner of Sage Avenue and Burdett Avenue. Although this appears to be an unrelated incident, it, as well as a number of other events, including a series of gunshots fired on Sunday night, have led to increased safety precautions taken by TPD, RPI’s Department of Public Safety, and residents of Troy.

Public Safety has also stressed student safety and provided the following safety reminder: “Be aware of your surroundings. Lock your doors. Report any suspicious persons, activities or vehicles immediately. Don’t walk alone. Do not confront any suspicious persons. Walk with a friend. Use the Red Hawk and CDTA Shuttles. Use the personal safety escort service available 24/7. Know the locations of emergency call boxes. Call Public Safety immediately!” For reference, Public Safety’s emergency number is (518) 276-6611.

Other members of RPI’s staff have also taken action in response to the burglary on Saturday. Associate Dean of the Greek Life Commons Matthew Hunt has set up a Safety Information Session, which will be held on March 26, at 4 pm in Union Room 3511. According to Hunt, representatives from RPI and the City of Troy will be at the information session. Students are encouraged to attend this event, which will provide “an opportunity to have any questions or concerns that you might have about your personal safety answered.”

For more information about safe modes of transportation offered by RPI, visit Public Safety’s website at http://rpi.edu/dept/public_safety/. The website also contains important numbers to call in case of emergency.

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