CHICAGO (CBS) — The murder of a college student right in the heart of Chicago’s largest campus has left the community unnerved.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, for the first time, the UIC police chief is talking about changes now being made. It’s a story you’ll see only on CBS 2.
The man whose job it is to try and ensure that the more than 40,000 students and employees of UIC stay safe is still struggling to come to terms with the murder of Ruth George.
“It’s very emotional. It’s very emotional. It hit home,” said UIC Police Chief Kevin Booker.
Police and George’s family found the sophomore kinesiology major’s body Saturday in the backseat of her car in the Halsted Street parking garage.
“We never thought anything like that would happen,” Booker said.
In less than 24 hours, police arrested suspect Donald Thurman at the same Blue Line stop where they said cameras showed he began stalking George before ultimately taking her life.
And now, as the memorial to the 19-year-old sophomore continues to grow outside the garage where she was strangled, so too has the level of concern among students and staffers.
“Those are natural human emotions. I want to assure everybody understands that the campus is safe,” Booker said.
Booker said security guards will be stationed in all five university garages around the clock beginning next month. That, as students and staffers get ready for finals.
“We decided because the focus is kind of on the garages, that we wanted to make sure that people are feeling comfortable and safe,” Booker said.
CBS 2 looked at the records and found there were 10 reported rapes last year compared with six in 2017 and two in 2016. But the chief said he believes it’s because in late 2016 they allowed people to report anonymously.
“We purposely did that. We understand that when you do campaigns like that, your numbers might go up. We welcome that,” Booker said.
And the veteran chief said it’s the people behind those numbers that matter most.
People like Ruth George who he hopes will soon get justice.
Booker said the university’s more than 1,000 camera surveillance system helped investigators track down Thurman.