After a series of recent armed robberies, the Department of Public Safety and the Providence Police Department have stepped up their security presence around campus, said Paul Shanley, deputy chief of police for DPS.
The most recent incidents occurred July 1, when two students were robbed at gunpoint in two separate locations near campus, DPS officials wrote in a community-wide email at the time.
One student was walking down Cushing Street at around 9:30 p.m. when a male armed with a handgun approached the student and demanded money. The suspect fled on Thayer Street after the student, who was uninjured, complied with his demands.
The same night, Jonathan Abrams ’15 had walked two blocks down Brown Street to a friend’s house on Lloyd Street at around 11:15 p.m. when two men approached him, Abrams said.
“They put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me,” he said. He was using his phone as a flashlight when the suspects appeared and demanded his phone and money. The suspects then fled down Lloyd toward a vehicle, Abrams said.
“I just let it happen,” he said.
DPS is working with the Providence Police Department in a continuing investigation to apprehend the criminals, Shanley said.
The two crimes occurred one week after another armed robbery. At about 11 p.m. June 24, a male robbed two students walking on Waterman Street at knifepoint before fleeing up Brown Street in a vehicle. The students were uninjured. The robbery occurred at the same intersection where another Brown student was injured in a knife assault in October.
DPS could not say whether the recent robberies are related, Shanley said. “There is just not enough information right now,” he said.
“We have no idea who they are, where they came from or where they live,” Abrams said.
In response to the crimes, both DPS and the Providence Police Department have extended their patrols from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., especially in the areas where the robberies occurred, Shanley said.
“We always tell our students to be aware of their surroundings and to trust your instincts and not to walk around late at night, especially on your cellphone,” he said.
Abrams said he was told not to walk outside past 10 p.m., and will use a transportation service instead.
“We are pretty safe with DPS, but you always have to be careful,” Abrams said. “It really shattered the bubble for me.”