This is a joint message from Bruce M. Shore, Dean of Students, and Louise Savard, Manager of McGill Security Services, to all McGill students. Please read this message carefully.
In the last six weeks there have been five robberies affecting students and a staff member walking alone along Dr. Penfield Avenue, between Peel and McTavish. In at least three cases a weapon was used to threaten the victims. Three of the students were punched or pushed to the ground. All the attacks took place between about 9 pm and 2:30 am.
Please help us avoid another incident. It is already getting dark earlier, and daylight saving time will end on October 30.
- Please note that Dr. Penfield Avenue is NOT a recommended night route. Do not use it after dark as a through route or meeting point if you are walking alone. Nobody in a group has been robbed. McGill has added a security foot patrol, and this will help, but we need your help, too, in the weeks ahead. You can see the Night Routes in your Guide to Student Services (the "Yellow Book") or on the Security website. Night routes are kept clear of high bushes, they are well lit, and emergency phones are along the way (with blue lights).
- If you must walk alone on Peel Street or McTavish Street in late hours, please call Walksafe (398-2498) for an escort, or if there is no reply, call Security at local 3000. Walksafe is a terrific student-run volunteer service. They are available Sunday to Wednesday, 8 pm to midnight, and 9 pm to 1 am Thursday to Saturday. You can use them to get to the McIntyre garage, too. They work in pairs, have reflective jackets, and carry walkie-talkies.
- Do not wait long at the Route 107 bus stop on Peel heading south, or the Route 144 bus stop heading east. Either walk down to Sherbrooke and take the 107 there, or from inside the campus call 288-6287 (AUTOBUS), then 8 for English (if you wish), 1 for bus schedules, 1 for the next 3 bus times, and 52106# (for the Route 107 stop number) or 52178# (for the Route 144 stop number), and arrive just a few minutes before your bus.
- Especially avoid short-cuts across fields and through lanes. Even when it is colder than now!
- Wherever you go, do not carry more cash than you need, and do not carry passports, visas, or anything valuable that you do not need handy. Victims who resisted were the ones who were hurt. The thieves want money, not your school books, so keep your cash, credit card, ID card, driver's licence and other critical items in a separate folder in a pocket, not in your wallet or handbag. If an individual grabs your purse or backpack, let it go. Your safety and well-being are more important than the value of your belongings. And as soon as possible call McGill Security, because they can often get there faster than the police and circle the offenders.
- Report anything suspicious to Security at 398-3000. They are on campus 24/7. You can also push the button on any emergency phone marked by a blue light. There is a new emergency phone on the Dr. Penfield side of the Brown Student Services Building, right near the entrance.
Now the better news. We had a similar problem last year, but McGill Security worked with the Montreal police and the offenders were arrested. Foot patrols have been added along Dr. Penfield and Peel and we are again working closely with the police, who have also assigned staff. You can help by not putting yourself in the position of potential victim. Avoid this area alone after dark, take precautions as suggested above, and make a mental note of the location of the Dr. Penfield emergency phone as you walk by the Brown Building next time.