BY GIAN CAPOLINO
On Feb. 6, at approximately 2:10 a.m., there was an attempted burglary at Sacred Heart’s off-campus residence hall, Taft Commons, according to Edward Shea, the Deputy Chief of the Department of Public Safety. Taft is located at 225 Taft Ave. in Bridgeport.
In an email sent to the University community later in the day, Shea provided more details about the situation. According to the email, the Public Safety officer stationed in the area “observed two males pry the front door open and enter the foyer of the building” and the men quickly left the area after the officer confronted and questioned them.
The incident is the latest of multiple incidents that have happened at or near the University’s resident halls in recent years, but according to Shea, the attempted burglary at Taft is unrelated.
“There were some isolated, unrelated incidents that occurred last year near some university resident halls, but there have not been any ongoing patterns of crime,” said Shea. “Public Safety works closely with the surrounding law enforcement agencies to monitor and track any incidents on, or near our facilities, or concerns that could potentially impact our community members.”
The Department of Public Safety, as well as Bridgeport Police, are continuing an investigation of the incident.
“Based on the findings so far, we believe the attempted burglary at Taft was an isolated incident as there were no other recent burglaries or crimes around that area,” said Shea.
According to the Department of Public Safety, the men were last seen walking towards Taft Avenue, and were wearing burly, dark winter coats and hoods. The Public Safety officers and Bridgeport Police who responded to the scene and checked the area were unable to locate the suspects.
Even though Public Safety is doing their best to ensure Sacred Heart is safe and secure, some students, including sophomore Jessica Gionta, are very concerned following the attempted break-in.
“The situation at Taft makes me feel very unsafe, especially because I’m going into my junior year next year and Taft is an option for junior housing. The break-in has caused my friends and I to strongly consider moving off-campus into a house close to the school rather than living in one of Sacred Heart’s off-campus residence halls next year,” said Gionta.
However, the Department of Public Safety believes that the students should not be concerned, as the procedures and safety measures currently in place were effective in preventing the situation from escalating.
“Public Safety continually evaluates all university facilities and security procedures to ensure we are staying current and responsive to any changes needed. It is important that everyone understands the security systems in place at Taft Commons performed exactly as they should.”
According to Shea, Public Safety has added door reinforcement plates to the exterior doors of Taft in order to help prevent the doors from being pried open. Members of the Department of Public Safety and the Office of Residential Life have also met to discuss the situation and are assessing if further actions need to be taken.
Other students, such as sophomore Abby Radwanski, do not seem very concerned about the situation.
“I am not too worried about the incident that happened at Taft,” said Radwanski. “It seems like Public Safety handled the situation well and no students were harmed, we all just need to remember to be aware of our surroundings.”
The Department of Public Safety gave a similar response to the situation, encouraging students “to be observant and practice safe procedures when traveling and to request safety escorts anytime they feel unsafe.” Students should also call public safety or local authorities if they see or experience anything suspicious.
Public Safety has also asked that anyone who may have witnessed the suspects in the area, or has any other information about the situation to please contact Bridgeport Police at 203-581-5100 and reference case #111-112, or SHU Public Safety at 203-371-7995 and reference case #2002-00165.