Police are still looking for the man who robbed two Syracuse University students this weekend. This after last semester's rise in crime near campus. Students we spoke with say despite the incident, they still feel safe around SU. Sarah Blazonis has tips that can help make sure it's a safe semester.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The first day of class at Syracuse University came just one day after two students were robbed off campus by a man who said he had a gun. It's a situation one grad student says she experienced firsthand while studying at a different school.
"I actually was mugged at gunpoint, so I don't want to say it's commonplace, but it happens, but it's just being in the wrong place at the wrong time and being careful," said grad student Steph Monet.
Sunday's incident happened in a parking lot on Ostrom Ave. One of the students was kicked and punched when she tried to resist.
"We actually would see crime picking up later in the spring semester. It's not usual for us to come back from winter break with a robbery occurring," said SU Chief of Public Safety Tony Callisto.
SU's Department of Public Safety dealt with a number of robberies, assaults and other crimes on and around campus in the fall. Callisto says it wasn't a peak year for crime, but it did prompt the formation of the University Area Crime Control Team on a trial basis.
"It's a team of Syracuse Police and Syracuse University Campus Peace Officers that work the Marshall Street area and the east neighborhood really trying to root out crime," said Callisto.
The team arrested three people involved in robberies. It will be on patrol again this semester. But officials also urge students to take their own precautions: Use the free safety escort services available after dark, travel in groups of three or more, avoid possible hiding spots and don't resist robbery attempts.
And while some students say they already feel secure near campus, they also note it's better to be safe than sorry.
If you have any information on Sunday's robbery, you're asked to call Syracuse Police at 442-5222 or SU's Department of Public Safety at 443-2224.
Other DPS safety tips include:
- Take advantage of CENTRO and Caz Limo Bus services or taxis.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Headphones and cell phones can create tunnel vision.
- Travel in well-lit and populated areas.
- Keep porch lights on at night.
- Don't approach strangers or let them get close to you.
- If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street.
- Go toward an open business or lighted house.
- Have your house or car keys in hand as you approach the door.
- If you are in a safe place to do so, attempt to get a description of the suspects and any associated license plates or vehicles.