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College Area robberies leave students uneasy

A string of robberies in the College Area has many students concerned for their safety while walking around campus at night.

A string of robberies in the College Area has many students concerned for their safety while walking around campus at night.

David Pradel

David Pradel

A string of robberies in the College Area has many students concerned for their safety while walking around campus at night.

by Johann Derek Oribello, Contributor

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Students are growing increasingly concerned about safety around San Diego State’s campus after multiple reports of crime incidents in the College Area during the first few weeks of the fall semester.

Since the beginning of the semester, there have been three robberies near SDSU.

The first incident occurred near midnight on Aug. 24. Multiple men reportedly confronted a group of three SDSU students and forcibly stole their cell phones and a set of keys near Mary Lane Drive, south of the University Towers residence hall, according to a campus-wide email from Associate Vice President of Administration Jessica Rentto.

The second robbery took place late in the afternoon of Aug. 27, when two suspects stole another SDSU student’s phone near College Avenue and Lindo Paseo.

The third and most recent robbery occurred around 11 a.m. on Sept. 8 near 63rd Street, when an armed assailant stole a student’s purse at knifepoint, San Diego Police Officer Steve Bourasa said.

Asian studies junior Cristian Goujon said the most recent robbery was a bold move considering the incident occurred in broad daylight. However, he said he has always been concerned about his safety during the late-night hours.

“There’s times where I find myself walking on campus late at night for class reasons and sometimes I feel a little sketched out so I try to be extra vigilant,” Goujon said.

Business administration junior Luke Lewis said he also feels uncomfortable that robbers are comfortable with attacking students in the middle of the day.

“It’s unsafe,” Lewis said. “Being a guy, I usually feel comfortable but the fact that this occurred during the day makes me feel uncomfortable.”

When is comes to being safe, Lewis said planning is essential.

“Walk with groups, especially (if you’re a woman), and let someone know where you’re going,” he said.

English junior Adriana Soto said she is also concerned about the daytime robbery. She said students should know they can never be too safe.

“Always walk in groups, regardless of what you’re actually capable of,” Soto said. “People always look at a girl and feel that it’s an easier target.”

Soto said college students can be ideal targets for robberies because they often carry laptops, tablets and other essential electronic devices for class inside their backpacks.

On Aug. 28, SDSU Chief of Police Josh Mays sent out a campus-wide email containing an instructional video with several safety tips and resources students can utilize to remain safe on and around campus.

In the email, Mays said students should keep an eye out for the blue light emergency phones, which will immediately contact a 911 dispatcher. These devices are located throughout campus and are tested every month to ensure proper function.

“Stay safe by examining your surroundings, avoid distractions by talking on your cellphone, walk in groups whenever it is possible and report suspicious activity by calling 911,” Mays said.

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