Police in Baltimore and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore are beefing up security after a pair of attacks on the downtown campus.
"Last week, our campus community was hit hard," UMB Police Chief Antonio Williams said. He pledged increased patrols, higher police visibility, and extended shuttle and chaperon services.
UMB President Jay A. Perman, Williams and city police announced the changes to students and staff at a meeting Tuesday on campus safety.
Last week, three men robbed a nursing student at gunpoint on Greene Street and a man tried to grab a hospital employee's book bag on Pratt Street.
"Never do I recall having two robberies on the same day on campus," Williams said.
Typically, he said, the campus experiences seven to 10 robberies a year. He said crime on campus is trending downward.
In September, an employee of the Maryland Shock Trauma Center was shot to death near the hospital in what police say was a gang-related shooting.
Williams said his department will deploy more police officers from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., when many students and employees are heading out for the day. He said officers will be more visible, on foot in reflective vests and in vehicles with amber flashers. He said more supervisors will work evening and weekend shifts.
Williams encouraged students and staff to use the university's shuttle system, which he said has recently been expanded. He said the department would work with the communications office to make crime alerts clearer, and provide a crime log online.
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Williams said his department would work more closely with Baltimore police, including sharing intelligence.
Baltimore Police Lt. Col. Melissa Hyatt said she is disturbed by the recent incidents. She said the department is adjusting deployments to address the periods when many are coming to and leaving the area.
Jamese Bobbitt, who works at UMB's School of Social Work on Paca Street, said she feels safer than she did while working at the Maryland State Department of Education on Park Avenue because she often passes a police officer on her way out.
"I like that they have police patrol the campus," she said. But if she works late, she said, the officer is no longer on duty.