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Ohio State Campus crime wave: 14 robberies in week

More than a dozen people have been robbed in the Ohio State campus area since Aug. 23, according to Columbus Division of Police and Ohio State police records.
While students received a crime alert from the university the afternoon of Aug. 26 describing two armed robberies and an armed robbery attempt that had occurred in the days prior, one of which happened on campus, no crime alert was sent to students regarding 10 other crimes reported around the campus area in the past week.
Ohio State Police Chief Paul Denton said the recent alert was issued because University Police “are obligated under federal law to look at those (crimes) that occur on campus,” but he said OSU police cannot immediately alert students to every crime reported in the city of Columbus.
Denton said there is an evaluation process before sending out crime alerts, and they are careful to publish information that will help people take actions for their own safety.
“It has to be accurate, you don’t want to put out misinformation,” he said.
Columbus Division of Police Commander Christopher Bowling said that in addition to involving a crime on campus, the recent alert was sent because two other crimes were thought to be related based on the description of the suspect.
While Columbus Police works closely with University Police, oftentimes working a joint patrol with one OSU officer paired with one Columbus officer at night, Bowling said that he cannot say precisely why an alert was not issued regarding the crimes that occurred in the last week.
“Their triggers are their triggers,” Bowling said. “Columbus Police has the ability to respond on campus if they choose to do so, but there is a police department on campus so they handle what’s on campus, we handle what’s off campus.”
To avoid future crime, Bowling advises students to use resources such as Student Safety Services when out at night alone and to pay attention to their surroundings.
“I’ve driven through the area in daytime and people step out in front of me because they’re so busy with their heads stuck in their cellphones,” Bowling said. “If you can’t see a big car coming, you probably aren’t going to see that person coming from behind a building.”
In addition to being aware of their personal safety, Bowling also urged students to keep a look out for crime, and call authorities if they notice suspicious activity happening around them.
“Many people these days have cellphones that they appear to have attached to their hands,” Bowling said. “You don’t have to necessarily give your name … but if you see something going on, don’t sit and stare at it, call for help.”
Jordan Gaydos, a first-year in chemistry and forensic sciences, said he and his roommate began taking precautions to avoid walking alone at night after receiving the crime alert Sunday.
“We made a certain time, 9 p.m., that we cannot be alone after,” Gaydos said. “When we’re over there (High Street area) just to make sure we’re with someone else or a group of people. Even if we’re split up, I make sure I have someone to call to come help me if necessary.”
Erin Fiesler, a first-year in business, said concern with campus-area crime sometimes affects her daily schedule because she does not want to walk alone at night.
“I won’t go to the library unless I have someone to go with me, or go anywhere off campus without someone to walk with,” Fiesler said.
Tom Bina, a fourth-year in mechanical engineering, said the recent wave of off-campus crime has left him feeling less safe around campus after hours than in years past.
“I’ve walked across campus late at night before. I always thought it was no big deal, but now I think twice about it,” Bina said. “Do you remember all those robberies last year? I didn’t feel like they did much about it. Nobody got caught for anything.”

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