Armed robberies push University of Cincinnati police to increase patrols

CINCINNATI - A sudden and dramatic increase in armed robberies on and around the University of Cincinnati campus has police taking strong steps to keep students safe.

Police said they have had around 15 robberies off-campus in just the past month, while one on-campus robbery happened about two weeks ago.

"When you're walking around at night and you're getting really scared and you see the cop and say, 'I feel safe, I feel a lot better,'" University of Cincinnati sophomore Shelby Rammel said.

Rammel was relieved to see police taking armed robberies seriously.  The most recent one happened Saturday night on Warner and Chickasaw Streets in University Heights.

"We put out a two-man team, that's dedicated, alternative vehicles whether it being segways or foot patrols, and they primarily focus Jefferson, Calhoun Street and Clifton Avenue," University of Cincinnati Officer Mark Zacharias said.

Officer Zacharias said a week ago, he and fellow officers began stepping up patrols on these crime-prone streets between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. seven days a week.

"It makes me feel pretty safe. I didn't think it was a problem before, but you can never have too much," UC student Justin Napierala said.

UC freshman Maggie Connell said the police presence puts her mind at ease.

"I like to run a lot, my mom doesn't like me running around at night, but I feel safe because I see them everywhere," Connell said.

Officer Zacharias said UC police are working to keep the community safe.

"The police department has always wanted to be more community focused, but the increase in crime in the area has been two-fold and been working together to get out there," Officer Zacharias said.

Zacharias said University of Cincinnati police have already dedicated one patrol car just to the city limits. 

There are also several hundred blue help phone on and off campus, connecting students to dispatch in an emergency.

University of Cincinnati police have also been partnering with Cincinnati police for the past two and a half years.

However, Rammel said you can never be too safe, and has a quick reminder for everyone.

"Walk with a purpose, act like you're not afraid, don't leave your headphones in, they can catch you off guard if someone's trying to rob you," she said.

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