Woman arrested after harassing student in Lawrence Hall lobby

Written By Cassandra Harris, News Editor

Woman harasses student in Lawrence while city of Pittsburgh mayor Ed Gainey announces plans for a new “public safety ambassador” program. 

In a letter to Downtown groups on Thursday Feb. 2, Gainey wrote of plans that pledge additional police, more frequent trash pickup and a new “public safety ambassador” program. This program will include 18 civilians assigned to help police handle “non-criminal nuisances and connecting people to mental health services” according to WESA.  

This is a positive announcement for Point Park Police Sergeant Mathew Mays amid recent crime fears Downtown. 

“It will only affect us positively,” Mays said. “We believe, hopefully like everyone else does, that a bigger police presence deters crime and makes our job easier. You know, we always would hope to just be a deterrent, rather have to take action, right? The last thing the police want to do is go out and have to arrest somebody.” 

Freshman musical theater major Drew Dela Llana wants the university’s police department to take more action.  

“It’s really concerning because you never really know, is it a gunshot?” Dela Llana said. “Is it a firework? Is it just the city? Sounds you wake up to, different noises every day and you worry which one is which.” 

Dela Llana shared her distrust with the university’s Point Alert system. In her friends’ group chats she receives more safety alerts than she does from the university 

“I think it’s ridiculous how I get my crime updates from my friends’ group chats rather than Point Alert, which is where they said it would be,” Dela Llana said. “With suspicious people on campus, I get texts from them saying oh, watch out, on the way to West Penn, there’s someone kind of creepy there.”

Mays informed The Globe that Point Alerts are sent out when there is an active threat in or around the region of campus. Crime alerts are sent when an incident, like a scam, has been reoccurring and reported repeatedly. 

“If the students do see something, we need them to say something, you know, even if they want to remain anonymous, call dispatch.” Mays said. “If we don’t have a report, there’s not much we can do.” 

Dela Llana witnessed a woman being arrested on the first floor of Lawrence Hall Thursday. 

The case was a harassment issue. A woman had followed students from an ATM machine to Lawrence Hall where she “piggybacked” into the building and continued to “berate” them for not giving her money. Mays spoke of how the police responded and took care of the incident. 

“She set off the turnstile alarm, which is how our department was initially notified,” Mays said. “Anytime there’s a turn style alarm, the cameras turn towards it and the dispatcher-monitors dispatches an officer.”

Dela Llana criticized the safety department for not notifying students when the incident was occurring. 

“I didn’t get an alert,” Dela Llana said. “I was walking from the Playhouse to Lawrence and there was this lady literally getting arrested at the bottom of Lawrence and I didn’t know what was going on.” 

The officers attempted to escort the woman out when “she immediately feigned an injury,” Mays said. “Saying that she was having heart palpitations. So they called paramedics for her. Paramedics arrived, paramedics transported her to Magee Women’s Hospital and then once the doctors cleared her there, she was transported to the county jail.”

She was charged with burglary, trespassing, disorderly conduct and harassment. She’ll have a court case this week.