COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Four crimes in a four-hour span were reported Tuesday night near the Ohio State University campus at a time when students are moving into student housing for the start of the fall semester.
This was something parents and students did not want to hear as the school year gets ready to begin, but both parents and police said this should serve as a reminder that students need to be aware of their surroundings.
Campus and neighborhoods around the campus are busy again as thousands of students move in. According to Columbus Police, more people around can mean more chances for crime.
“When you have more people crammed into smaller areas, for the bad guys, that’s opportunity,” said Columbus Division of Police Lt. Larry Yates.
Police are now looking for suspects in four crimes reported Tuesday night into Wednesday, all of which happened just off-campus. Police said suspects showed a gun in each incident.
The first was a carjacking involving two suspects at 10:25 p.m. Tuesday at Norwich and Indianola avenues.
Then, at 12:40 a.m., near East 18th Avenue and North 4th Street, police said a man demanded purses and wallets from three OSU students and then took off.
Just 15 minutes later on Chittenden Avenue, police said a suspect tried to rob people, but they were able to run into a nearby bar before giving up anything or being hurt.
Police said that at 2:20 a.m. Wednesday, a suspect took two students’ cell phones near East 13th and Indianola avenues.
“It’s obviously unsettling, but the communication Ohio State has had has made me feel really comfortable,” said OSU sophomore Kate Gilfillan.
Gilfillan, who is spending her first semester on campus, heard about the crime through the neighborhood safety notice OSU sent out. The Dersovitzs, whose son Matthew is about to start his freshmen year, didn’t know about the incidents until NBC4 interviewed them.
“Hearing about it is not great,” said Brian Dersovitz. “Obviously you want safety for your kids at school, but with that being said, they’re 18-years-old, growing up, they should learn that they have to be aware of their surroundings.”
That’s the same reminder Yates has students as well.
“You’re still in a big city, and crime happens in big cities and small towns,” he said. “Crime happens everywhere.”
Some students were victims in some of the reported incidents.
Police don’t have many suspect details but said the crimes may be related.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Columbus Police at 614-645-4545.