University News

After area robberies, DPS steps up patrols

By
Staff Writer
Thursday, March 15, 2012

 

The Department of Public Safety increased security around campus due to robberies in the area last month. In addition to increasing the number of DPS patrol routes, three contracted security officers have also been placed in the area to stave off crime.

In light of Tuesday night’s robbery on George Street, DPS is also considering increasing the presence of security officers who patrol on bicycles, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police of DPS.

DPS also works with the Providence Police Department for the area north of campus, and the Providence police force has also increased their presence there, Shanley said.

Violent crime in the area has decreased in recent years, so the robberies that have occurred north of campus within the last three months are unusual, Shanley said. But cities occasionally experience spikes in crime at random intervals. Many of these incidents are crimes of opportunity – suspects taking advantage of people distracted or talking on their phones, Shanley said.

The robberies north of campus do not appear to be connected to each other, Shanley said. 

Crime rates on campus experienced a similar spike in 2001 and 2002, The Herald reported Feb. 23. Additionally, the area north of campus experienced multiple robberies by the same suspects two years ago, though it is unusual for assailants to hit the same geographic area more than once after they have been apprehended, Shanley said.

Since October 2011, there have been six robberies on or near campus, according to the DPS website. Most of these incidents did not involve Brown students.

The robberies in January and February of this year all occurred north of campus. On Jan. 28, a group of men robbed five victims walking on Bowen Street of their coats, wallets and cellphones, Shanley said. During that incident, one suspect displayed a handgun, he said.

The victims involved in the incidents Feb. 5 and Feb. 11 were approached and assaulted from behind, Shanley said. The Feb. 11 incident prompted the University to increase the presence of contracted security officers in the area, he said. 

Other than Tuesday’s incident, there have been no other reported robberies north of campus since February, Shanley said. None of the suspects have been apprehended, he said.

Students and residents of the area have noticed the increased police presence, Shanley said.

Kara Kaufman ’12, who lives near the corner of Keene and Thayer Street, said she felt relatively safe living north of campus, though the recent robberies did unnerve her.

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