Crime Tracker: Aggravated Batteries Down at SIU

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By Sam Jones
By Andy Shofstall

JACKSON COUNTY -- SIU police intervened in an aggravated battery last weekend. The victim had to be treated at the hospital, and the alleged attacker ended up in jail. Officials say these on-campus crimes are actually on the decline.    

There were five aggravated batteries last fall alone. With only a day left in this semester, police say there's only been one. A big drop, but they still have room to improve

“I'm in shock. It usually don't happen, especially in front of the building,” wondered Jalonda Kimbrough, “Why, why did it happen?”

There’s shock and disbelief after the latest aggravated battery on SIU's campus. It started Saturday.

“The other student and he were involved in a verbal altercation. Slapped victim back of the head. Officers couldn't find him” Chief Ben Newman said.

Then the next day, the two students were at it again.

“We were able to apprehend the suspect rather quickly identify the victim’s needs, make sure the victims treated,” he added.

The two students were fighting outside University Hall on South Wall Street. The victim suffered cuts to the face and was taken to Carbondale Memorial Hospital. Jabez Chung left in handcuffs, charged with aggravated battery.

“I feel like in college there’s always going to be fights, but for it to be that seriously to that extent I feel like that is a problem. And I feel like the school should find some way to solve problems before stuff like that happens,” urged Freshman Elizabeth Jean Pierre.

Chief Newman says it's the only crime of this sort in 2014. He credits more proactive and visible measures taken by SIU officers, including strategic patrolling and more interaction with students.

“We have an officer assigned to each residence hall,” he said.

Jean Pierre feels relatively safe at SIU. She does have a suggestion to improve the school.

“More surveillance maybe more around the buildings instead of just the bars and clubs,” she advised.

Thanks to a school safety grant of $100,000, that will soon be a reality. Most of the money will go toward installing surveillance cameras across campus.

Chung faces expulsion from the university for his role in the fight. Police say crimes like this are often related to alcohol-- which can be tough to control on a college campus.

If you have any tips for our Crime Tracker, send them by email sjones@wsiltv.com or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaJonesTV 

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