By Katie Schmitz
On Feb. 15 at 3:38AM, Dylan Jolliffe ’17 and Josh Robison ’17 were robbed at gunpoint on Lovell St. near the railroad tracks.
“I had never even thought about something like this happening, especially so close to campus,” Jolliffe said.
Jolliffe and Robison were out looking for a cell phone that had been dropped earlier near Bottom’s Up when a car approached them.
“We had thought it was someone we knew,” Jolliffe explained, “and they started talking to us and quickly stopped and a guy jumped out pointing a gun at us saying, ‘Don’t run I’ll shoot, give me everything you have.’ There were 4 of them. I gave them my stuff and Josh gave him his stuff and they punched Josh a couple times, he fell back and a couple jumped on him. I jumped in to try to break it up and they dispersed back into their car.”
Violent crimes such as this are a very rare occurrence, especially crimes that happen on campus.
“Things like this don’t happen often. Over the years, we have had some problems at the railroad tracks,” explained Tim Young, head of Security.
Because of past problems near the railroad tracks, Kalamazoo College has installed video cameras to monitor these areas. These cameras were able to catch the entire altercation on video.
The video evidence, as well as Jolliffe and Robison’s descriptions, has given the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety a pretty good idea of who committed this crime. “They pretty much knew who they [the assailants] were that night,” said Young.
Although the perpetrator’s car has been located, it is unknown if they have been located themselves. Students should continue to be cautious when out late at night.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re at 3:30 in the morning; whether you’re here or in the richest town of Birmingham, or where you’re from,” Young warned, “…trouble is afoot at 3:30 in the morning. You subject yourself to have that possibly happen to you if you are out at 3:30, because that’s when those folks are out and about looking for people.”
K Security does the best that they can to keep students safe, but in situations where a gun is involved there is little they can do.
“My folks [officers] are not armed,” Young explained, “so there’s really nothing more that they could have done besides call the police their own selves. Person versus gun doesn’t fair very well.”
Despite this, Jolliffe felt as though K security did a good job handling the situation. “They were there right away when we called and really helped the process move forward.” Jolliffe went on, “I don’t think they could’ve done anything better at all. They were awesome.”
Young feels as though there is no need to heighten the security around campus. “A lot of it is placed upon all of us and our own self-security related needs,” Young said, “To think, ‘Where are we going? Are we placing ourselves into harms way?’ If you go to a part of town where you know you’re going to stand out, you’re putting yourself in harms way.”
Jolliffe added, “[This experience] has definitely been an eye-opener and a reminder that this stuff is very prevalent anywhere you go.”
Both Jolliffe and Young gave advice to any student’s who may find themselves in similar situations in the future.
Jolliffe also warned, “If anyone ever finds himself or herself being held at gunpoint, just do as they say because you don’t want to risk your life over your phone or wallet. It’s a huge thing to cancel your credit cards and shut down your phone immediately after to avoid any unwanted charges and such. The best thing to do is to just not ever walk around that late at night.”
“Don’t wait for it to happen. If you feel like maybe something isn’t right, and you have your phone, just call 911 and they will swing a car over that way immediately,” said Young.
Jolliffe concluded that he is “completely fine” after the experience and that everyone on campus has been extremely supportive.