For the third time in the past week an armed robbery occurred in the campus area. Wednesday evening, two more Ohio State students were robbed at gunpoint.
Amy Macynski, a third-year in journalism, and Helena Demacopoulos, a second-year in marketing, were in Demacopoulos’ car in the parking lot of an apartment at the corner of Woodruff and Waldeck Avenues at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, when two African-American males approached the vehicle.
“I was typing an address into the GPS and my door opened and a man stuck a gun in my car and pointed it at my friend and said ‘Give me everything you have.’ And then he turned and stuck the gun to my head,” Macynski said. “He took everything and he grabbed the GPS out of my hands as well and yelled a couple things but the last thing he said was ‘If you call anybody I’ll f–king kill you.'”
This is the second incident in the last three weeks where female students have been targeted. In the first incident, the victim got away after she began to scream, according to the police report. According to a Timely Warning, which was issued after the incident, the attempted robbery took place Nov. 5 at 5:15 a.m. on Norwich Avenue. The victim reported that she was approached by a black male who brandished a gun and demanded money.
“Helena (Demacopoulos) and I were the first girls to get robbed, so I think the criminals are getting cocky,” Macynski said.
Macynski said she thinks the robbers saw her leave her house, and she will no longer be staying there.
“Because the guys know where I live, until they are caught I am staying with my parents or with a friend,” she said. “I literally have not gone anywhere, even the bathroom without someone by my side. I can’t be alone.”
Demacopolous, who just returned from an internship in Florida two days ago, said she was aware of the recent string of crimes in the campus area.
“Even though I was away I was hearing about these robberies, but I figured if I drove everywhere it would be fine but they actually came into the car with guns and took everything so it seems like you’re not safe anywhere,” Demacopoulos said, adding that she is now afraid to be in her own home.
Both Demacopoulos and Macynski said they are unsatisfied with the university’s response to the recent crimes.
“I know the university has been aware that this is happening but I’m seeing a lot of patterns here: similar times, similar locations and similar descriptions of suspects,” Demacopoulos said. “With all of this going on, I’m surprised campus hasn’t had more patrol in the area.”
Macynski wants to see more response from OSU.
“I’m kind of upset with the university,” Macynski said. “I wanted to see myself in a Timely Warning email but I haven’t gotten one yet. I want people to know I was in a car and I should feel safe in a car, I should feel safe living in my apartment, but I am wary of everybody now. It’s terrible.”
According to the OSU Police Division’s Timely Warning policy, these warnings are subject to its discretion.
“When the OSU Police Division becomes aware of off-campus crimes investigated by the City of Columbus Police that may present a serious or continuing threat to the campus community, a Timely Warning/Crime Alert may be issued. This will be determined by the OSU Police Division on a case-by-case basis based on the facts of the situation, the possible impact to the campus community, and the information provided by the City of Columbus Police,” according to OSU’s Timely Warning policy.
After a student was mugged Tuesday night around 7 p.m. a timely warning was issued less than four hours later.
In response to questions about the absence of a Timely Warning for Wednesday’s incident, OSU Police Chief Paul Denton said in an email that he already believes there is an awareness of the recent robberies.
Denton added that the University police is working closely with the Columbus police, and trusts that they will advise the off-campus community appropriately.
President E. Gordon Gee sent an email to OSU students and colleagues Thursday evening to announce that a team of University leaders has been assembled to create a plan for a comprehensive program. The program is to ensure students’ safety by creating recommendations for strategies that are due to Gee next week, according to the email. Strategies will be implemented the following week.
Gee wrote, “Clearly, we will do everything possible to provide for the safety and well-being of our students. That is our shared commitment for the foundation of a University community.”