Crime & Law
Violence at University of Chicago Prompts a Search for Solutions to Ensure Safety
Violence at University of Chicago Prompts a Search for Solutions to Ensure Safety
Jul 23, 2024 4:02 PM

After a University of Chicago graduate was killed on campus earlier this month, some Chicagoans are calling for greater economic opportunities and outreach to stem violence rather than a larger police presence in Hyde Park.

Shaoxiong “Dennis” Zheng, a 24-year-oldnative of China’s Sichuan province who recentlyreceived his master’s degree from the university,was killed during an armed robbery on Nov. 9. Zheng is the third University of Chicago student or recent graduatekilled this year alone.

While university officials promptly indicated they’d increase off-campus patrolling following Zheng’s death, some members of the Asian community are calling for systemic change versus increased surveillance or police presence.

At a press conference held Monday, Grace Pai, the executive director of the nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Chicago, said increasing police presence in Hyde Park would exacerbate the problem.

“Gun violence has been hurting communities across Chicago, especially Black communities, for generations,” Pai said. “Some of this violence has been inflicted by the police.”

Pai instead called for the Asian American, Black and other communities to come together to work toward greater economic opportunities, diversion programs to keep young people out of jail and prison and pushing for reforms within the police force.

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