Wayne State University

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Safety Alerts

Timely Warning Policy

In the event that a situation arises, that, in the judgment of the Chief of Police, constitutes an ongoing or continuing threat to persons; a campus "timely warning" will be issued. The warning will be issued to students, faculty and staff through the "Campus Watch" e-mail publication and will be posted on the Police Department's website.  Such website posting will be identified as a "Special Alert". 

Determinations by the Chief of Police will be made on a case by case basis.  Warnings may be delayed if sufficient information is not available or if the warning may compromise an ongoing law enforcement effort.

All Active Special Alerts are listed below.

Special Crime Alert - Two Robberies south of Main Campus

Both incidents occurred in the area of Willis, between Third Street and the northbound Lodge service drive - about four blocks south of the main campus.

The first incident occurred at about 4:42 pm on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 when a 37-year-old area resident reported that he was walking up the steps to a residence on W. Willis near the Lodge freeway, when he heard someone passing by ask for money. The resident refused the request and the unknown male kept walking. Seconds later the resident noticed the same subject pointing a handgun at him and demanding his wallet and phone. The victim surrendered the property and the unknown male walked away, telling the victim not to call the police. The victim was not injured.

Physical Description:

Unknown black male, age unknown, approx. 5'8" tall, bald head, clean shaven, wearing a turquoise zip-up sweatshirt, blue jeans and blue/gray sneakers.

The second incident occurred at about 10:50 p.m. on January 27, 2017 on Third street south of W. Willis, when a 24-year-old male reported he was the victim of a carjacking. The victim stated he was walking to his parked car when he noticed two unknown males walking behind him. When the victim got to his parked car, he unlocked his vehicle door with his key fob. The two males then ran up behind him. One produced a handgun, while the other ordered him to drop his keys and two bags the victim was carrying. The victim complied and then immediately ran southbound away from the two males. The victim, who was not injured, last saw subject # 1 driving his vehicle away and subject # 2 driving another gray vehicle north on Third street.

Physical Description:

Subject #1: black male in his 20's, 5'11" tall, 160 pounds, wearing a black skull cap and black hoodie, armed with a handgun.
Subject #2: black male, in his 30's, 5'8" tall, 200 pounds, wearing a black hoodie.

Special Crime Alert - Fatal Shooting south of campus

At around 3:18 a.m. on Sunday morning January 11 a man was shot and killed in front of an off-campus business on Second Avenue near Canfield. The man had no affiliation with Wayne State University.

Because this is an ongoing Detroit Police Department homicide investigation we cannot provide specific details, however all indications are that this was a targeted event toward the victim, and we are confident that there is no ongoing danger to WSU students or employees.

We and others within the community, including Wayne State and Detroit police, are working directly with the business involved, La Hookah Town, to ensure that similar incidents don’t develop in the future.

If anyone has additional information, or hears anything that may be of use in the investigation of this incident, they are asked to contact the Detroit Police Homicide Section at 313-596-2200 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP.

Prevention Tips:

Be Aware of Your Surroundings:

Police Officers use this term frequently. It means nothing more than simply being aware of what is going on around you and whether or not that activity is normal and expected for the setting. If something seems strange, unusual or suspicious, you are asked to contact the WSU Police immediately at 313-577-2222. Officers will be dispatched immediately to check out the activity.

Notice Other People:

Look at the people around you, not just a momentary casual glance, but take a good look. Notice if they just glance at you (a normal reaction when making eye contact with a stranger) or if they are watching you. If you notice that they are paying more than momentary attention to you, that may be a red flag that you are about to be targeted.

Open Display of Valuables:

The open display of valuables, including jewelry, cash, and/or high end electronics (including cell phones, iPads, iPhones, etc) in public places could be just the information a potential thief needs to target you as his next victim.

Trust Your Instincts:

If someone makes you feel uneasy, trust your instincts and act accordingly. Whether indoors or out, change directions and proceed to areas where other people may be around.

Assess Your Own Vulnerability:

Strangers aren't out to attack YOU. It is nothing personal, they are just looking for the easiest target of opportunity. Your goal, therefore, is to look like somebody who will be too much trouble to mess with. They also want to make you their victim without attracting attention from others. Make it a point, wherever you go, to stay in areas where other people are present. As soon as you enter an area where no one else is around, your guard and defenses should be on alert.

While cell phones have become an important part of our lives, they can also be a distraction, preventing us from observing what is going on around us.

WSUPD patrol officers see, on a daily basis, pedestrians, both on campus and in the surrounding MidTown area, walking around openly displaying high end electronics (talking on their iPhones, texting on their phones and even listening to music, via ear buds, on iPads carried in their hands).  Not only are these pedestrians oblivious to what is going on around them, they are openly displaying their valuables to potential thieves. Some pedestrians  place themselves at risk of being hit by a car when they step off curbs to cross the street....without even looking for approaching cars because they don't take their eyes off their hand held electronic device.


Keep your head up and walk purposefully. Look at your surroundings and be aware of them. Headphones may give the impression that you are less aware, as well as being completely engaged in a cell phone conversation.

To reduce your chances of becoming a robbery victim, we recommend you routinely walk in areas where you can see others and others can see you.

Robbery perpetrators, like any other criminal, don't want to be caught "in the act" of robbing someone. They prefer areas where neither potential victims or witnesses will see them. By staying in populated areas, you increase your chances of never being selected for this type of crime.

Whether you are in the city or the suburbs and you find yourself confronted by a robber, the most important thing that you can do during the incident is to prevent, if possible, any violence. Always assume the robber is armed, even if you can’t see a weapon, and act accordingly. If you are the victim of a robbery, consider these important tips:

  • Get it over with quickly. Chances are if you stall, the robber will get nervous and may be more prone to violence.
  • Nothing you have or own is worth getting hurt for. Valuables can be replaced, you cannot.
  • Do what the robber asks, but do not volunteer to do anything more. Move quickly, but carefully to give the robber exactly what they want.
  • Do not fight or try any impulsive heroics. The risks are high if the robber is armed.
  • Do not volunteer to go anywhere with the robber or allow them to take you anywhere. The odds are heavily against you if you allow them to take you to a secondary crime scene where they have more privacy and more control over you.
  • Do not chase the robber. Carefully note their physical description and the direction they flee in. If they have a vehicle, note it's type, make, color and license plate if possible.
  • If you have the opportunity to flee, do so immediately. The robber wants your property most of all. Drop it or throw in one direction, then run in the opposite direction, to any area where there may be other people around.
  • Call the Wayne State University Police immediately at 313-577-2222.

We also recommend you carry your cell phone on your person (on a belt clip or in your pocket), rather than in a purse, in your hand or in a backpack. That way, if you become separated  from your purse or backpack, you can still call for assistance.