Benedict, USC plan to increase police patrols to keep students safe

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For students to get to class at Benedict College, many of them have to walk Haskell Street.

But lately, Haskell Street was the site where some students have had their lives threatened just a few weeks ago. Investigators say victims were robbed at gunpoint by a suspect and two accomplices. Based on the descriptions given to authorities, this group is also suspected on holding up more students only a few nights after the first incident in front of the college on Taylor Street.

"We've had some robberies across the board," Benedict Police Chief Haywood Bazemore said.

Bazemore believes the common trend found in all recent campus robberies, not just ones at his school, is that the victims are students especially when they're walking in poorly lit areas at night.

"They're looking for an easy prey," Bazemore said. "I'll put it at that because that's what they're doing. They're preying on these college students because they know a lot of them are not familiar with the area...but we're cracking down."

At Benedict College, plans now include more patrols of streets around the campus especially at night. A similar approach is also being taken at USC, which has had two reported cases of students being robbed in just the last week.

"Students will notice increased number of patrols both car and bike and on foot," USC's Wes Hickman said, "and they'll also notice more officers out and about on campus."+

Even though the campuses have cameras, call boxes and alarms, police say the best way students can be safe while walking at night is to be aware.

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