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Safety Advisory

DPS Safety Advisory to the Penn Community,

Recently, Penn, Drexel and Philadelphia Police have identified a pattern in the West Philadelphia area of a person aggressively asking for money that turns into a robbery. The safety and wellbeing of our community is our highest priority. Drexel and Philadelphia Police continue to investigate these crimes, and Penn Public Safety has dedicated additional resources to supplement regular patrols in our area.

The suspect in this pattern of robberies is described as a medium complected male with facial hair, 18 – 20 years of age, 5’8”, medium build, wearing all black clothing, black mask, black hooded sweatshirt, and black sneakers. He will approach the complainant as they are walking, ask “can I have a dollar?” and then make a threat to cause injury if they do not comply. These incidents have occurred in the area of Market and Chestnut Streets, from 32nd to 34th Street.

If you see something, say something. If you see someone behaving suspiciously, or if you encounter this individual, do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe. Walk away and go into a nearby business or another public place. After you are in a safe place call Penn Police at 215-573-3333, or 911 if outside of the Penn Patrol Zone.

We wish to share the following safety information with our community.

Know that it is never the fault of the person impacted (victim/survivor) by crime.

The Division of Public Safety has developed a few helpful risk reduction strategies outlined below:

  • Familiarize yourself with your surroundings (location, garages, parking lots, etc.)
  • Be mindful of distractions (i.e., use of cellphones, ear buds, etc.)
  • Use our free Walking Escort program any time, 24/7. (215-898-WALK/9255).
  • If you believe you see the described suspect, do not engage with them – call 215-573-3333.
  • If you encounter someone aggressively asking for money, do not engage with them; walk away – go into a business or other safe place.
  • If you feel that you are being followed walk towards a well-lit, populated area.

We encourage you to use the free services provided for your safety and wellbeing:

  • Use Walking Escort 215-898-WALK (9255) to walk with you to any location between 30th Street and 43rd Streets, from Market Street to Baltimore Avenue 24/7; as well as west to 50th Street and north into Powelton between 10 am – 3 am.
  • Use PennRides 215-898-RIDE (7433) for free transportation to both the West Philadelphia and Center City areas.
  • Call the HELP Line 215-898-HELP (4357) – 24/7 for members of the Penn community who are seeking time sensitive help in navigating Penn’s resources for health and wellness.
  • For a medical emergency, call 215-573-3333 for the Alternative Response Unit (AR-1) and Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT).
  • Request a safety presentation for your group.
  • Special Services: 215-898-4481 or 215-898-6600 (24hrs) Members of the Penn community may inquire and receive support services when victimized by any type of crime. Highly trained personnel are available to offer immediate assistance, including crisis intervention, accompaniment to legal and medical proceedings, options counseling and advocacy, and linkages to other University and community resources.
  • Student Health and Counseling (24/7): Medical Concerns: 215-746-3535 Counseling: 215-898-7021
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): 1-866-799-2329 Penn’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can provide counseling and referral services to you and your families, as well as connect you to resources to help you work through the grief these events can create. EAP offers materials for coping with traumatic experiences and ways to help those who struggle with feeling safe at school, home, or work.
  • UPennAlert Registration: Visit the UPennAlert webpage for information on how to register or update your contact information.
  • Penn Guardian: Use the Penn Guardian App to stay in touch with Public Safety.