Security Alert ------------ Homewood ------------ At 6:45 a.m. on Oct. 12, an assailant matching the description in four previous robberies robbed a student in the lobby of Wyman Towers Apartments and at 9 a.m. attempted to rob another student walking north in the 3100 block of N. Charles Street. Neither student was injured. As a result of prompt reporting by these students, Northern District and Homewood campus police were able to converge on the area, where a suspect was apprehended. Positive identification was made at the scene, and the male was arrested and charged with these two robberies. Northern District police have created a photo lineup and are reinterviewing recent robbery victims to determine if the above assailant was involved in other area robberies. The investigation continues, assisted by campus police, amid heightened patrols of Charles Village and the south end of campus. "This suspect has been charged with four crimes, and two more charges are pending," said Homewood Security director Ron Mullen. "He is suspected of being responsible for the robberies in which he accosted a victim while holding his hand in a bag as if he had a weapon." Mullen said that this suspect is only one of the people responsible for the rash of robberies in the neighborhood since the beginning of the fall semester, a period in which his office has issued 15 off-campus and four on-campus crime alerts. Last year only six alerts had been issued by the winter recess. Mullen suggested multiple causes for the recent increase in Homewood-area crimes, such as an electrical blackout and a temporary diversion of police patrols in the area. The security director also noted that the success of the Central District Police to the south and various neighborhood security efforts--such as the extra paid security force hired by the Charles Village Benefits District--is effective at pushing criminals off their streets, but not at resolving the problems that motivate their crimes. "Drugs are still the engine for most of these robberies," Mullen said. "These assailants are opportunistic, and they have time, and need, on their side. So even though our office and the Northern District Police have extra officers on patrol, when these units break away, 55 minutes later there's a car break-in or a student gets robbed." Steps are now being taken to have an additional Hopkins Security patrol in Charles Village all night while school is in session, Mullen said. Mullen suggested that students, faculty and staff use caution when walking through the neighborhood. When you go out after dark, he said, do not travel alone. Or if you must, call the Security Escort Service, at (410) 516-4600. Finally, if you are approached on the street, he said, just comply with the assailant's demands. "We don't want anyone taking foolish chances." At 1:55 a.m. on Oct. 18, a student walking south in the 3200 block of St. Paul Street was approached by a male who placed an object against the student's left side as if armed and demanded the student's wallet. The assailant took the money and returned the wallet and then ran east on the 100 block of 31st Street. The student was not injured.
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