Spike In Crime In Areas Near UVa

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 13, 2006

Charlottesville Police are stepping up security measures in some of the areas near the University of Virginia. The increase comes as authorities are seeing a spike in crime.

"I guess most people are starting to lock their doors a little bit now. I hear a lot of people talking about it," said 4th Year UVa Student, Justin Harding.

It's a message Charlottesville Police are trying to get across to students: take precaution, especially now, with crimes such as robberies and breaking and entering on the rise in certain neighborhoods surrounding the university.

"I've been doing this for about 30 years and every year that we know the students are returning, we kind of brace ourselves, because you have a lot more potential victims showing up," said Captain Chip Harding with the Charlottesville Police Department.

One 21-year-old student did become a victim over the weekend. Police say the young man was shot in the stomach during a robbery along Wertland Street.

"That one [was] fairly close by and it is worrisome," said Frank Sellin, a grad school student.

Along with the yearly crime spike, police are now focusing their efforts in that area.

"We've increased police presence in patrol and surveillance," said Captain Harding.

Authorities are using the surveillance to try to catch thieves in the act. They say many times, they are dealing with repeat offenders.

According to police, there have also been quite a few cases of strangers walking into unlocked homes, in neighborhoods including Wertland and Jefferson Park Avenue. It's a warning to students and some do seem to be listening.

"Now, definitely in my apartment and I think other apartments, we've been trying consistently to lock our doors and not be out late at night by ourselves," said 3rd Year UVa Student, Chandni Challa.

Sellen says, "Frankly, in this neighborhood, you need to be locking your windows and your doors," which is one simple step Charlottesville Police hope will keep another student from becoming a victim.

As for the student who was shot, he remains in the hospital at this time. Police are still looking for a suspect.

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