Students react to rumors of gang activity near campus, Monday’s DPS notice
The Department of Public Safety and Student Association President Dylan Lustig sent an email to students on Monday night to dispel rumors that gang initiation activities are behind the area’s spike in crime.
Although DPS has sent out emails in the past to update students on the status of various crimes, DPS Chief Tony Callisto said the department doesn’t usually send notices to address rumors.
“We haven’t had this kind of rumor in the seven years I’ve been here,” Callisto said.
The email assured students that the uptick in crime is normal for this time of year and that there has not been an increase beyond what has occurred in years past.
The email also highlighted two recent incidents on Marshall Street near Acropolis Pizza House, which did not involve Syracuse University students, and warned students to stay away from the area at night. The email also advised students to be aware of guests at parties they host and also to make sure they know the hosts of parties they attend.
The purpose of the email was not to make students worried or concerned about the recent spike in crime. The email clearly says the rumor is false and was intended for those students who had heard about the rumor, Callisto said.
“The point of the notice was to alert folks, not to alarm them,” he said.
For many students, like Lydia Feinberg, a junior biology major, the email was a source of reassurance and did not make her any more worried about crime near campus.
“I’m not any more alert than I already am,” she said. “If anything, it made me feel a little better.”
But other students didn’t need the reassurance. Gabrielle Dompor, a sophomore economics major, said she never believed the rumors about gang initiation.
“If it was a gang initiation, no one would know about it,” she said. “These things are supposed to be a secret.”
There has been a big increase in police activity this year, but Dompor said she’s not sure whether this means there has been more crime, or whether the increased activity just makes it seem that way.
Drew Davis, a sophomore history major, said he only heard the rumor about three hours before receiving the email. But he said he finds the fact that there’s even a rumor going around “pretty scary.”
“The university is letting us be in an unsafe environment,” he said. “We should be safe at all times, both on and off campus.”
But David McLean, a sophomore economics major, said he doesn’t think all the blame should rest with the university.
Said McLean: “This is not a university issue; it’s a city of Syracuse issue. It’s a matter of safety for all Syracuse citizens and they need to crack down for everyone’s sake.”
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