Author: Lisa Kraege
On Friday, Feb. 20, at about 10:30 p.m., four male Occidental students reported to Campus Safety that they had been robbed of their cell phones, keys and wallets while walking along the 1600 block of Campus Road near Corliss Street. The students were verbally and physically assaulted by five unknown males, according to the e-mail alert released by Campus Safety the next morning.
The attack began when the suspects slowly drove by the students in an early 90s green four-door Ford Taurus and parked just ahead of them. They got out of the car and began yelling at the students, demanding their belongings, and then proceeded to physically assault them. The attackers were described as five African-American males, all aged approximately 19-21 years old.
In the e-mail alert released on Saturday, Campus Safety advised students to travel in well-lit areas in groups of three or more in order to avoid dangerous situations. Yet the attack on Friday involved a group of four students.
“It is surprising that a group of four students walking together were robbed. It is a fact that there is safety in numbers,” Nieto said, adding, “I believe a contributing factor to be a lack of city street lighting. The area between Alumni Avenue and Westdale is dark.”
According to Nieto, recent discussions between Facilities Management and the City Department of Water and Power have resulted in a plan for the installment of more lighting in the area.
“I don’t know the projected installation date, but I do know the project is in the works. Lighting is always a deterrent to crime,” Nieto said.
The Friday night robbery was not the first to occur in the area around campus. “Two years ago there was a robbery of two women walking in the same general area,” Director of Campus Safety Hollis Nieto said.
“I would think that most robberies would occur with male students,” Sydney Whitten (sophomore) said. However, Nieto said that most attacks of this nature have little to do with gender.
Due to California victim protection rights, the names of the students cannot be released and were not available for contact.According to Occidental Communications Director Jim Tranquada, “No media associations have contacted me, and I haven’t seen or heard of any coverage anywhere.” LAPD is conducting an investigation of the robberies. LAPD could not be reached for contact.
In response to the attacks, both LAPD and Campus Safety will increase patrols in the neighborhood around campus. Campus Safety has no immediate plans to increase the number of escorts.
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