Columbus Police Warns OSU Students Of New Threat Near Campus
The violent robberies of three Ohio State students this week brought a flood of calls from concerned parents, and it prompted Columbus Police to reach out to campus police to find new ways to keep students safe.
Columbus Police Commander Chris Bowling says he is working to create new ways to inform students of potential dangers, and educate them on how to stay safe. He says one possible way is with a heavier emphasis on social media.
Commander Bowling says the streets near campus seem safe in the daylight, but they can be dangerous in the dark.
Ohio State Junior Andrea Murray is trying to hide what's left of an encounter near campus, a black eye and a scuffed-up hand.
“It was a physical fight. Yes. My roommate and I were attacked,” said Murray.
She says it happened, when she and her roommate were robbed while walking near the intersection of N. High St. and E. 17th Avenue.
“Well, they ran behind us, and I had a wristlet on, and they tried to take my wallet from my wrist… It was five against two,” said Murray.
Police say the five girls range in age from 13 to 15 years old.
Murray tells 10TV she is thankful she and her roommate made it out alive, and even more grateful police quickly arrested the accused thieves.
“A lot of people are surprised when I tell them that it was women,” said Murray.
“We seem to have a growing number of female robbery suspects or females being involved in violent crimes with female victims. That seems to be a new twist this year,” said Commander Bowling.
Because of this, Commander Bowling says he wants students to be more aware as they're walking around campus.
“Be alert, stay alert, know where you're going, know how to get there, have a plan if something occurs, but after dark, be vigilant,” said Commander Bowling.
A day after Murray was robbed, OSU sent out a campus-wide alert about another armed robbery, where someone approached a student. According to the police report, the suspect was "displaying a handgun and threatening to kill her."
Police say that suspect is also a female.
“Sometimes you just get comfortable. I know I did, but you really have to be aware all the time,” said Murray.
Columbus police say staying safe could be as easy as putting cell phones down, while walking around campus, and being aware of the surroundings.
They say it is always a good idea to walk in groups, and if you see something suspicious, report it immediately.