Where does our safety lie?

As robberies happen after school, What is the plan to assure the safety of the students?


Anthony Labrado

On Wednesday, October 7th, juniors Emmanuel Ruiz and Christian Gutierrez narrowly escaped a risky situation, when both of them had their phones robbed by local thieves in the playground. However, they were not together when it happened.

“[The thief] asked me if I gangbanged,” Ruiz said. “Then he just snatched my phone and ran off.”

Ruiz tried to chase after the thief, but it proved fruitless. Gutierrez, had a similar situation.

“I was carrying my phone in my hand, and then they just sprinted by me and snatched my phone,” Gutierrez said.

Both Gutierrez and Ruiz were beyond furious that the situation happened, however, in the neighborhood, it was expected.

“This neighborhood is filled with GD’s. and different factions of the Vicelords,” said Officer Alex Cerezo, a Chicago Police officer who works with the school.

The school has preached safety to be one of its top priorities, however, according to Ruiz and Gutierrez, the school has not made  it a priority as much as they should. The biggest complaint comes from the executive decision to close the gate that leads to Western Avenue, leading only one route in and out of the school: the playground where Ruiz and Gutierrez got robbed.

“I’m afraid to walk around this neighborhood,” said Ruiz. “Going through [the playground] is dangerous because that’s where all the gangbangers are.”

Ruiz suggested that the police provide a greater presence in the area, however, having them come to patrol may be more difficult than it seems.

Local police officers, according to Cerezo, are running anti-drug operations and several times, the Cook County Sheriff’s have ran headquarter operations in the area around Phoenix. There are also daily beats and patrols that officers do in the area.

However, due to dwindling numbers, officer support looks scarce.

“Many of our officers are retiring,” Cerezo said.

Cerezo, does preach about vigilance, however.

“Students need to be vigilant and not on their phones,” Cerezo said, “Always look around because something always can come around the corner.”