UH campus on alert following attempted robbery

November 9, 2010 3:43:44 PM PST
University of Houston students are probably paying closer attention to their surroundings after an attempted armed robbery on campus. Students are familiar with what happened because of an email that was sent out Monday by the university. While the suspects didn't get away with any money, many here felt as if they were robbed of their sense of security.

With a giant network of close to 600 surveillance security cameras, police and scores of emergency call boxes, U of H students think of campus as a safe place and admit it's easy to get complacent.

Student Zacharia Nwojo said, "You're so occupied about what you have to do, you don't think what you should be thinking of while you are walking in the dark. I'm here until 12am sometimes."

On Monday two suspects tried to rob a student on campus

"I like my credit cards, I like my wallet, and the fact that it might disappear on me is pretty scary," said student Abrar Chowdury.

Campus police say it's what happened after the student told them he had no money that concerns them most.

Lt. Bret Collier with the U of H Police Department explained, "One of them had a weapon in his waistband. We don't know if it was real or not, but they did display what appeared to be a weapon."

As students remain on alert, U of H is taking a dramatic step to improve campus security. The university recently approved the hiring of 32 additional civilian security patrol officers to saturate the residential areas of campus.

"It's so easy to target the students, you know," said student Mahshid Hadi. "It's so easy for them to come and go, so I think it's about time. It's necessary."

Investigators tell us right now they are working several active leads in the case but no arrests have been made.

The University of Houston offered some safety tips for its students and staff:

  • Be alert
  • Be cautious when approached by an unknown person on the street
  • Remain as calm as possible. Your own initiative and clear thinking are your best defenses.
  • Use the emergency call boxes placed around campus. The call goes directly to the UHDPS Dispatch Center.
  • Report the incident. Call the police immediately and report what has happened. Call 713-743-3333 or 911.
  • Do not walk alone. If at all possible walk in groups.
  • Try to notice details. This can allow you to provide the police with detailed physical and clothing descriptions of the person(s) involved.
  • If a vehicle is involved, try to note the vehicle's license plate number or the vehicle's manufacturer, model and color or any other identifying features.
University officials are encouraging all faculty, staff and students to be alert and to be cautious of their surroundings on and away from campus.


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