U.T. Police Offer Safety Tips After Rash of Crimes on Campus

U.T. Campus (WVLT) - There has been a rash of crime on the campus of the University of Tennessee.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford is following the story.

Two armed robberies, a sexual assault and a purse snatching were all reported on saturday.

The incidents more than double the number of armed robberies at U.T. from last year's total of two, to five already this year.

No arrests have been made and that leaves students and police on their toes and on the lookout.

"I was just really shocked and surprised that that could happen so close to where i'm living," said Laurin Wilson, a freshman at U.T.

The first strong-armed robbery happened around 4:30 Saturday morning on White Avenue near the Knoxville Place apartments.

U.T. Police Captain Keith Lambert says three black men assaulted another man and stole his wallet.

"He was struck with some type of a blunt object. There was no firearm involved in it that we were made aware of," said Captain Lambert.

Just two hours later, and two blocks away, Lambert says a male U.T. student was mugged a similar way, at the intersection of 16th Street and Laurel Avenue.

"I guess they think they can get a way with it, I don't know" said U.T. Junior Rob Wilkins.

Then, at about 7:00 a.m. Saturday, a woman's purse was stolen at Hess Hall.

"A person had followed a student into the residence hall after she opened the door and the door hadn't completely closed behind her, when that person entered and grabbed her purse and unfortunately took it from her," said Lambert.

Many students say they definitely feel less safe now.

"It's pretty scary. I wouldn't expect that kind of stuff to happen around campus," said Wilson.

"The reality is, we're not immune from crime taking place here," said Captain Lambert.

But, Lambert says they take every incident seriously and they've already increased their patrols around campus...

"We want a lot of visibility out there for our officers so that people feel comfortable calling them and letting us know," said Lambert.

But some students argue the security isn't tight enough.

"For a university this size, that takes in a tremendous amount of revenue, I don't think it'd be much to ask to employ some more security," said Wilkins.

"Everyone knows that they need to be more careful, not go out by themselves a lot."

Chief Lambert says a sexual assault also occurred late Saturday afternoon in an unknown academic building on the hill.

U.T. Police offered these tips:

Always give up your money or purse without a confrontation.
Don't walk alone.
Take advantage of UTPD for an escort.
Report anything suspicious.

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