(FOX19) - With rising safety concerns around campus, University of Cincinnati officials are actually seeing a drop in crime.
Early Wednesday morning, two UC students were robbed on Jefferson Avenue in Clifton. It happened around 1 a.m. when two students were approached by a suspect who
held them up at gunpoint.
Last week, another student was robbed at gunpoint inside his Digby Avenue apartment by a gunman who gained entry through a fire escape.
It sounds like a lot of crime, especially since the semester is just three days old.
"We're doing a lot of things to try to get them up to speed as quickly as we can on how to live safely in a new environment," said interim UC Police Chief Jeff Corcoran.
Students have their concerns with these recent incidents.
"I walked on those same streets, and it could very well have easily been me and my friends," said Pierce Hicks, a freshman.
But, believe it or not, crime rates are actually down.
"I think our programs are doing well and they're working. We've seen a significant drop both on and off campus in terms of crime rate. We're at a five-year low," Corcoran told FOX19 NOW.
Students are asking for more, though.
"I think they're doing a decent job. But, I definitely think that they could do more," said Adam Kupferberg, a freshman student.
They are doing more, in fact. University safety officials attribute a dropping crime rate to things like their NightRide, a free student shuttle program, and a campus safety smartphone app called 'LiveSafe.'
The next move is a massive beefing up of their police force.
"We have 40 police officers. We're expanding to 64," Corcoran said.
On top of that, more security officers will be brought on, as well as more dispatchers. But, they need more than just badges, guns and cruisers to help cut crime.
"It's not that we're blaming the victim or we're saying that it's their fault that they were victimized. What we're saying is make yourself a little bit harder target," said Corcoran.
That's why they've handed out flyers to students coming back to campus letting them know about campus safety options, as well as reminding them to take proactive steps in keeping themselves safe and secure.
As for Wednesday morning's robbery on Jefferson Avenue, police are looking for a suspect. It's a 20-year old black man, wearing dark clothes and a tan hat, officials say. He was riding a small, dark-colored bicycle. If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.