Police: Increase presence in Greek Row

By Northern Star Editorial Board

After reports of a Sept. 6 fight involving at least 20 people on Greek Row, the DeKalb Police Department must permanently boost police surveillance in the area.

The fight occurred at 12:30 a.m. at Sigma Alpha Epsilon, 919 Greenbrier Road, after SAE members denied a group of more than 20 people entry to their party, said DeKalb Police Cmdr. John Petragallo.

The SAE house falls under the DeKalb Police’s Zone One East, a patrolling area between Annie Glidden Road to North First Street and West Lincoln Highway to Rich Road.

Petragallo said Zone One East experiences the most criminal activity, but large crowd altercations are uncommon in the area. The area is regularly patrolled by two vehicles units and two bicycle units. A targeted response unit of four officers has been added near the SAE house since the incident.

This targeted response unit should become a permanent asset to the police presence in the area, not just to SAE, especially during fair-weather months in the fall and spring when crime rates and student activity are higher on Greek Row. The police should aim for a proactive, not reactive, form of patrolling.

Although large crowd altercations are infrequent in the area, 15 mob action cases were reported to have occurred in DeKalb from March 26, 2012, to Sept. 10, according to NIU and DeKalb Police reports. Eight of these cases were reported in the fall, three in the spring and two in the summer. Only two cases were reported in the winter.

If it is common for a “decent-sized” group of people to search for parties in the Greek Row neighborhood, as Petragallo said, then it should be just as common for police officers to be maintaining the safety of the individuals in the area.