Starting this fall, students at the University of Illinois will have a new way to track crime on campus as mathematics and computer science student Aaron Yu and his team have developed a crime map using data from the school’s police department.
As an Asian-American student, Yu has become increasingly concerned about anti-Asian violence amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so he decided to help. “I definitely think, clearly, there is a need and I really think that this can help fulfill that need,” he told WCIA.
He and his teammates created a crime map using the police crime log, which documents cases of theft and battery and their locations. The map allows students to see precisely where these crimes are taking place.
According to Yu, developing the map amid the COVID-19 pandemic was not easy because he has yet to attend the university and is not familiar with the streets around campus.
However, the sophomore student believes that it is hard to meet people and connect with them if they do not feel safe in public. This, he said, is especially true for Asian-American students amid growing numbers of attacks in the country.
‘A Great Way to Protect People’
Patrick Wade, a representative from the University of Illinois Police Department (UIPD), pointed out that people can take practical steps to avoid crime if they have more information about their area.
He commended Yu’s group for taking the issue seriously and coming up with a unique way to partner with the police and help fellow students.
“We’re always trying to keep our campus community informed of public safety issues on campus. It’s just a great way to get that information out there and empowering people to protect themselves,” the cop remarked.
Meanwhile, Wade urges students to pay attention and use available resources to stay safe, especially as in-person classes recommence this fall. He said students could rely on the newly-developed crime map if they need to pass through a crime-prone area. “If you’re going to be going through one of those areas, find a buddy to walk with…” he stated.
To augment the guidance that the map will provide, the UIPD will partner with the Champaign and Urbana Police Departments to provide extra patrols around the campus and ensure the safety of students.