Ohio State released a Timely Warning on Tuesday night informing students of the fifth robbery in the campus area in just over two weeks.
According to the warning, a male student had his possessions forcibly removed from him by two males who implied they had a gun. The suspects were described as African-American under the age of 20. The suspects were approximately 6-feet tall, thin build. The incident occurred at 1501 Neil Avenue.
With the recent string of robberies near Ohio State’s campus, one Sergeant from the Columbus Police Department’s Investigative Robberies Unit said there has been an increase in criminal activity within the last 30 days in Columbus.
Due to the recent series of robberies that have occurred in the campus area, many OSU students and faculty have been left to wonder whether crime has increased or if the new Crime Alerts system is causing the OSU community to be hypersensitive to crime.
Sergeant Shaun Laird of CPD’s Investigative Robberies Unit told The Lantern crime numbers have, in fact, increased.
“Though I don’t have an exact number for you, we have had more reports than normal for this time of the year,” Laird said. “There has been more activity in the past 30 days.”
Laird also said CPD does not believe the string of crimes is due to gang activity.
“We have no information that any of these crimes has to do with gangs, though we are still investigating these,” he said. “The physical description of the suspects is different, some are with a weapon and others are without.”
He said they are investigating each crime independently right now.
“Sometimes we see some similarities between one or two of them. However, we don’t believe they are all interrelated at this time and we will examine each one separately,” Laird said.
Deputy Chief of OSU police, Richard Morman, said due to the location of the robberies, the department does not have specific numbers for anything other than what occurs on campus.
“That vicinity is all the Columbus Police Department’s area,” Morman said. “However, we have done a joint force with them, where an OSU officer teams up with a CPD officer.”
Morman also said their department has nothing to do with the investigation of the robberies.
“Of course we are aware of the crimes, and we are teaming up with the CPD to increase awareness of crime behind High Street,” Morman said.
Another attack and robbery happened Sunday morning. OSU student Aaron Peacock was beaten and robbed of his wallet, cell-phone and keys around 3:45 a.m. on 18th Avenue between Summit Street and Fourth Street.
Though the attackers were not armed in this case, they have been in previous cases. On Nov. 5, a female reported being approached and shown a black handgun, after being told to hand over her money, according to the Crime Alert released by the university. In all, OSU Police have issued five Timely Warnings for robberies occurring near campus in a little more than two weeks.
Laird said the arrests CPD has made serve as another piece of evidence the crimes are not related.
“In the last month, we’ve had three arrests in the past five incidences,” Laird said. “And this kind of crime keeps occurring, so it leads us to believe they are not interconnected.”
Although the alerts have alarmed many OSU students, it is making some students more aware of their surroundings.
Eman Darwish, a first-year in biology, said one crime happened right outside her building.
“Now when we go out at night, my roommates know where we all are at all times,” Darwish said. “We will text each other when we’re leaving and when we’re coming home, so that we know we’re all safe.”
T.J. Manolukas, a fourth-year in chemistry, said he feels less safe now than he ever has at OSU.
“I feel like I’ve gotten more crime alerts in the past two weeks than I have my entire time here at OSU,” he said. “When I read crime has not increased, I was shocked because I feel like there’s been a ton more.”