Bicycling robber hits Bannatyne campus

A robbery was committed at knifepoint on the night of Monday, Oct. 4 at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus.

Terry Kolbuck, a spokesperson for the Winnipeg Police Service, confirmed that the robbery had occurred and that officers had been dispatched to the Bannatyne campus to investigate.

The victim, a 20-year-old female student, was walking towards her car parked on McDermot Avenue beside the E Lot when she was approached by an unknown male riding a bicycle.

The suspect was armed with a knife and brandished it, demanding the victim’spurse. She complied, and the suspect pedaled south through H Lot, fleeing thescene.

“The female victim was not injured and there is no one currently in custody. The investigation is ongoing,” said Kolbuck.

According to Alan Simms, U of M associate vice-president (administration), the suspect was described as being male, aboriginal in appearance, 30-35 years of age, approximately 6-feet tall with grey hair and wearing a dark hat, dark-hooded sweatshirt and grey pants.

Most students were not aware that the incident had occurred, but did not seemsurprised when informed of it.

“I would have liked to know it happened, but I think they do a pretty good job with their security department of offering ways in which we can protect ourselves, walking to and form school,” said Angelle Downey, a student who attends Bannatyne campus, when asked what she thought of security on campus.

Katie Muray, another U of M student who studies at Bannatyne, said that the incident made her feel “not too safe” on campus, especially when studying late at night. She also said one pitfall of the Safe Walk program is that it only covers a certain distance from the Bannatyne campus.

“If you call security then they will take you to your car and it’s on 24 hours a day,
but they only go a certain distance. I have a bunch of friends that park on Toronto [Street], which is four blocks away, and [Safe Walk] does not go there,” said Muray.

Besides the Safe Walk service, the university has implemented other services and procedures to ensure student safety and security.

“Our officers conduct bi-monthly outdoor light and Code Blue Pole surveys and report any problems to Physical Plant for repair,” explained community constable Kristi Bonin, who is a member of the U of M Security Services bike unit and coordinator of the Student Patrol Program.

“Officers and student patrols perform building and ground patrols every night.”

Bonin also highlighted various other security features such as the surveillance cameras outfitting both campuses, and the Fort Garry tunnels equipped with panic buttons.

She also noted the red phone call boxes located in hallways of each building, and the numerous Code Blue Stations outside, providing a direct line to Security Services.

Last year the Bannatyne and the Fort Gary campuses had a combined 314 Criminal Code offences, which accounted for 10 per cent of calls officers received.

“The majority of crimes are mischief and theft. Most thefts are break-ins to offices and lockers. Most mischief cases are damage to vehicles or university property,” explained Bonin.

Bonin advised students to be proactive in staying safe on campus, suggesting tactics such as walking with a friend or co-worker to and from your vehicle and parking in a well-lit area.