University announces arrests, new security measures

Case Western Reserve police today reported the arrests of three Cleveland teenagers suspected of robbing students at gunpoint on campus earlier this month. At the same time, the university also announced new programs to enhance campus safety as the majority of students return in August.

Within the next few weeks, the university will launch a targeted crime-prevention program for the northeast part of campus. The effort includes the appointment of several new security officers charged to patrol in the evening and early-morning hours. It also involves the assignment of a nighttime police supervisor to coordinate short- and longer-term initiatives to gather intelligence, identify potential risks and deploy officers strategically to address potential trouble spots.

“As grateful as we are that no one was injured physically during this crime,” Senior Vice President for Administration John Wheeler said, “the presence of even potential violence on campus demands that we do more to protect our community. These efforts represent an important start, and we will continue to assess our options in the coming months.”

Two of the youths allegedly involved in the July 19th crime in the university’s Wade Commons building are age 16, while the third is 13. One reportedly waved a silver handgun and demanded the students turn over such property as laptops and cell phones; police said the trio then fled north from campus. Officers from the University Circle and Cleveland police departments responded to the incident, along with Case Western Reserve police; university Detective Daniel Schemmel led the investigation that resulted in the arrests. All three youths face multiple charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping, and one count each of aggravated burglary.

“I commend Detective Schemmel and our officers for the energy and intensity they brought to identifying the perpetrators of this crime,” Case Western Reserve Police Chief Arthur Hardee said. “I also want to thank the University Circle and Cleveland police departments for their assistance on the day of the incident, as well as their additional vigilance in the northeast area of campus since then.”

Most of the new security officers will walk beats from the North Residential Village to classroom buildings south and west of student housing. The patrols will extend all the way to East Boulevard and Bellflower Road, adjacent to the new Tinkham Veale University Center and Kelvin Smith Library. One additional officer will be stationed in an elevated security booth in the heart of the North Residential Village. The approach is designed to cover key walking paths students and others often use after dark.

Case Western Reserve police, student affairs staff and students will collaborate to provide training to the new security officers arriving next month. In addition, first-year students will attend multiple orientation sessions regarding university policies and ways to increase their own personal safety—for example, by calling the campus Safe Ride van when traveling across campus or to the Coventry neighborhood in Cleveland Heights after dark. In September, the university will host a safety fair for all students—undergraduate, graduate and professional.

Wheeler said the university will evaluate physical security measures, including lighting, cameras and access control to buildings this fall. In addition, Case Western Reserve will retain an external expert to provide a comprehensive assessment of all police and security efforts on campus, with particular emphasis on best practices for institutions located in urban areas.

The university will provide updates on its efforts as they evolve.