Spike in campus crime targetting students

Published 08/29 2013 12:09PM

Updated 08/29 2013 12:14PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Students are learning fairly quickly that campus-town is not always safe after a rash of robberies. Five have happened in the past five days. The latest was Tuesday night in the 500-block of East Stoughton. A man was robbed then beaten while locking up his bike. WCIA-3's Amanda Porterfield has more.

Almost all the robberies happened between 9 pm - 3 am. Police say the suspects are mainly stealing cellphones.

Campus is the perfect place to target thousands of unsuspecting students who make the perfect victims. Police say it happens every year.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the kids are walking around, not paying attention. They're talking on their cellphone, not looking around. All of the things we constantly say not to do."

Police say they see a spike in crime at the beginning of each year during move in, but this is the quickest. The crimes started two weeks ago before school began. In the past week, at least one student has been robbed each night.

"The vast majority of them are cellphone thefts. They're getting cellphones from these victims. It's an easy way to make some money."

The latest crime happened right outside Sway Wu's apartment building. A man was pistol-whipped and robbed while putting away his bike.

It's the exact reason Wu doesn't leave her apartment without one thing: "I also carry around my mace all the time so, in case something does happen, at least I have it around for use."

More officers will be patrolling after the attacks, but Wu says she'll continue to keep matters in her own hands.

"There's a lot of people always texting and checking their emails and I am guilty of that too. But, it's good to stay aware of what's going on around you at the same time."

Police say officers will patrol the area in plain clothes and on bikes throughout the weekend.

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