Over the weekend, Champaign Police responded to four reports of batteries and thefts that appear to be related. The victims in these incident reported being “punched” in the head by someone in a group as they were walking down the sidewalk. The victims reported that the offenders were among a group of three males and three females. These incidents occurred after curfew, between 1:30 a.m. and 3:22 a.m., and in the areas of 500 E. Healey, 700 S. Sixth, 300 E. Springfield, and 200 E. John.
During one of the incidents, which occurred on September 30th, in the 300 block of E. Springfield Avenue, a 19 year-old woman’s cell phone was taken after she was punched by an unknown female. Two females, ages 15 and 16, and a 16 year-old male were later located and arrested for this one incident. However, based on the witness statements it is believed this group may be responsible for all four incidents.
The Champaign Police Department is concerned that these incidents are similar to a recent phenomenon circulating on the internet called “Point them out, knock them out”. Simply stated, the offending group identifies an unsuspecting victim and one of the offenders punches the victim in the head then flees the area. The Champaign Police Department has been investigating five similar random incidents on campus over the past few weeks. But, this weekend’s events are clearly a spike in this type of activity.
In an effort to deter this activity, the Champaign Police will be providing additional officers on campus to address the problem. Officers will be aggressively enforcing curfew violations and making contact with subjects on campus who appear to be violating the curfew ordinance.
Officers encourage pedestrians in the campus area to be aware of their surroundings at times and offer the following tips to avoid being victimized:
- Walk in groups and use well-lighted routes, whenever possible.
- Avoid walking near groups of loitering juveniles and/or non-college age individuals.
- Report to police any confrontations and/or threats from groups of juveniles and/or non-college age individuals.
- Be aware of your surroundings and do not be distracted by your cell phone or mp3 player.
- If drinking, please be responsible for yourself and lookout for your friends who may be intoxicated.
The Champaign Police Department encourages parents to ensure their children do not violate the City’s curfew ordinance, which carries a fine of $175.
Sec. 23-211. – Curfew established; hours; exceptions; enforcement:
(a) No person thirteen (13) years of age or younger shall be or remain upon any street, alley, or other public place in the City between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.
(b) No person between the ages of fourteen (14) through sixteen (16), inclusive, shall be on any street, alley or other public place in the City between the hours of 11:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, inclusive, and 6:00 am the following day, or between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Champaign Police continue to investigate these crimes and is asking for assistance from the public. Anyone with information is asked to call Champaign Police at 217-351-4545 or callers can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 217-373-8477 (TIPS). Tips can also be submitted through www.373tips.com or text by sending CCTIP plus the information to 274637 (CRIMES).