“Aggravated Assault just reported at Houlihan’s parking lot two dark skin females in white Nissan unknown direction of travel.”
That was all we got in the campus alerts sent out on Feb. 27. It was the only information we received about that incident, and the only information it seems we will ever receive.
What were we supposed to do about this enigmatic message? Stay inside? Be on the lookout? We may never know. No further info was given.
I’m not asking for much. A phone number. A directive. Maybe even a better description of the suspects.
What does “dark skin” mean? Anyone with a basic tan could fit that description, no matter their ethnicity. Looking up “white Nissan” gets me thousands of cars that look more or less the same. What if I thought the suspects were in a Nissan Altima when they were in a Nissan Maxima? How would any layman know the difference at first glance? How is any of this supposed to help identify two suspects in an assault? All it does is contribute to racial profiling.
I understand that crimes can happen very quickly, and it is not always possible to get a good look at a suspect as they are leaving the scene. But shouldn’t Houlihan’s have cameras?
Let’s compare this to October 2021, when campus received an alert that read, “Off campus shooting suspect last seen on ULoop West & Aggie. Light skinned male wearing red shorts & no shirt; dark skinned male wearing black & white pants. Use caution in the area. Call UPD at 972-2093 if you have any information related to this shooting.” This is much more helpful. A detailed description of both subjects and their location, and a directive for what we’re supposed to do with the information we’ve been given. Yes, there is still the “light-skinned-dark-skinned” issue, but there is more information than skin color alone.
If you are wondering what to do in the event you witness a crime, worry not. I have some excerpts from the A-State 2021 Annual Security Report, which can be found on the Campus Crime Statistics section of the A-State website.
“All students and employees are encouraged to accurately and promptly report all crimes to University Police. This can be done by calling 870-972-2093 and the dispatch officer will assist the caller in contacting the most appropriate officer…Students wishing to report crimes on a voluntary and confidential basis can do so by using the form at https://www.astate.edu/a/police/online-forms/silent-witness.dot. Additionally, community members can use the QuikTip app on their I-phone or Android phone to report crimes on a voluntary and confidential basis (sic).”
This information isn’t hidden from students, but it may not be obvious for the average student. Specific direction never hurts, especially when a crime has taken place.
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