There’s now a dark navy curtain taped around Daecia’s window, effectively covering it and blocking any natural light from coming in.
But the curtain is there to stop someone else from looking in.
Daecia, a senior secondary education and English major, filed a report with Temple Police after her neighbors knocked on her door at about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning and told her that they saw a man standing in the shadows of an alleyway between her apartment building and the rowhouse next door.
Although her blinds were down, Daecia said there was a small gap at the bottom.
“‘I could see your legs, so he could probably see more,’” she said her neighbor told her.
The Temple News is withholding Daecia’s last name for her protection.
“I was in total disbelief because I had just gotten out of the shower and I was disgusted,” she added. “He definitely saw me naked.”
Daecia’s neighbor, a junior advertising major whose name is being withheld at her request, said the man was on a fenced-in balcony several feet above the alleyway, looking into the windows.
Daecia’s neighbor said when she and her roommate called 911, they asked police to send someone as soon as possible. After 45 minutes, law enforcement had not arrived, so they called Temple Police’s general hotline.
TUPD wrote a report of the incident and told Daecia she should tell her landlord about the problem.
Daecia said Philadelphia Police arrived an hour after the 911 call, but did not come up to the property. Instead, they stayed in their cars and blared the horn until she and her neighbors came out of the building, she said.
“They were snickering at us,” Daecia’s neighbor said. “They were treating us like stupid girls who had a guy looking in their window. It made us feel so unsafe. … They told us they had more important things to do.”
“I told them, ‘Thank you for making me feel safe, because you did absolutely nothing. You didn’t even get out of your car to look at my apartment to see my window where he was looking at me,’” Daecia said. “They didn’t do anything, they just left.”
Philadelphia Police did not respond to The Temple News’ request for a police report of the incident. Daecia’s neighbor said Philadelphia Police did not take an official report of the incident.
Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services, said the only call they received came in at 1:45 a.m. and lasted about three minutes. Officers were dispatched to the house four minutes later.
“[The caller] said they had been waiting for a long time,” Leone said, adding that the caller said they had called 911 first.
He said depending on the nature of the 911 call, they get categorized by the call taker and are then sent to a dispatcher. Leone said the call might have gotten pushed back by more urgent calls, so it would not have reached the dispatcher until later.
Daecia’s neighbor added that she and her roommate hadn’t realized 911 and the TUPD hotline are separate.
The next day, Daecia said she went to Temple Villas, the property management company for her apartment, and they instructed her to go to the police. When Daecia told them she had already done that, they told her that she could notify the company’s maintenance staff.
“Her verbal report was written down, logged, processed, administrative staff were consulted, and the head of maintenance was sent to check on the security of the windows in question,” a Temple Villas representative wrote in an email. “We do our best to inform tenants of the nature of our responses, sometimes that communication isn’t immediate.”
Leone said the best way to deter people from entering any property is to make sure there are bright lights, cameras and a clear pathway in the back of the house.
“Lighting is really important,” he said. “If you don’t want to spend the money on constant lighting, get motion sensors. They’re less expensive.”
Leone added that Temple Police have videos on their website that instruct people on how to secure their windows and property.
“I know it’s not that hard to get back there but it is difficult,” Daecia said. “There are measures that Temple Villas has, that they went through to make sure that we are safe. There are gates, there are barbed wires, there are bars on the windows. So I’m even more disgusted with the fact that he’s obviously done this before, for him to know how to navigate back there and for him to peep through my window.”
Daecia’s neighbor said that she wanted to know how he got into the alleyway and was able to climb up onto the balcony.
“What else would he do if he was willing to go that far to look in our windows?” Daecia’s neighbor said. “I’m scared to sleep by myself anymore. My pillow is right next to my window, and it was open [that night].”
“I’m still not OK that my privacy has been invaded, it’s disgusting on all levels,” Daecia said. “I feel violated, because I don’t know how long it’s been going on. … He probably saw things. He’s seen too much already.”
Julie Christie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ChristieJules.