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Duke re-thinking security after rash of armed robberies

Posted August 27, 2013

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— Duke University says it's considering blocking access to its campus at certain locations and closing off parts at night in an effort to increase security following a series of armed robberies.

The latest was Sunday around 10 p.m. when two men were robbed of their cellphones, laptops and credit cards outside William R. Perkins Library on Chapel Drive.

Last month, three people were robbed on two separate occasions near the entrance of Sarah P. Duke Gardens on Lewis Street.

Duke's vice president of administration, Kyle Cavanaugh, says that, after security issues in the spring, the university re-evaluated its staffing levels and physical security and increased resources in both areas.

"We’ve now taken a step back and said, 'What else? What are some other steps we can take?'" Cavanaugh said.

Security officials are considering closing off at night roads that can be used to cut through campus, including Towerview Drive on Duke's West Campus.

But students say they aren't sure whether restricting access to campus is the best way to approach the matter.

"It would make me feel safer," said student Courtney Harris. "At the same time, I think it would be a tad inconvenient."

In addition to the issue of convenience, some students say they worry about what it could mean to those around the university.

"Sending a message like that to the Durham community is a big problem," said Matthew Ross, a Ph.D. student who says he feels safe on campus. "I don't think that's the way to solve it."

But Cavanaugh says that the changes are only being considered right now, but that the university's "first and absolute priority is the safety of our students, our faculty, our staff and our visitors."

Any changes approved could, however, be in place by the end of this year.

"All of these moves are incredibly challenging balances," Cavanaugh said. "Over the last couple of months when we've had these robberies, that's an aberration. We haven't seen a trend like that here in the last couple of years."

Authorities arrested two people in connection with last month's robberies, but they are still looking for a man in Sunday night's crime who was wearing a red bandana over his face and carrying a silver handgun. He was last seen running toward Science Drive.

Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Duke University Police at 919-684-2444.

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  • 212thMP Aug 28, 2013

    BTW, it does not take 3 seconds to draw and fire a properly loaded, armed and concealed handgun... It is a smooth, one action motion that happens based on experience and practice. Be prepared or be a victim.

  • ajstevens0439 Aug 28, 2013

    University Presidents and Police Chiefs lament the fact that citizens with CHP's will be allowed to possess firearms in vehicles and rationalize that this will result in the theft of firearms from these same vehicles. An obvious, common sense solution is to modify the legislation to allow such weapons to be CARRIED by the individual possessing the CHP. Not only will this eliminate the incentive to break into a vehicle, it will dissuade all these malignant criminals from preying on unarmed students as we read about day after day after day. When will progressive liberals realize that criminals DON'T obey the law, and GUN FREE ZONES are really miscreant NO RISK ZONES to engage in robbery and assault with little fear of resistance or response.

  • 68_dodge_polara Aug 28, 2013

    "And now they can steal guns out of cars on campus.

    Thanks, General Assembly."

    This one has effected me as we regularly go on to campus to pick up students for home group well after dark and before this we would have to travel around Durham unarmed and vulnerable.

    So yes, thank you General Assembly! A great big thank you!

  • kdogwnc Aug 28, 2013

    And now they can steal guns out of cars on campus.

    Thanks, General Assembly.

  • mep Aug 28, 2013

    I can draw my CC and fire a shot in under 3 seconds. Mr. Robber is not going to have to wait long to be served. - mep

    But mep, will 3 seconds give you enough time when you already have a weapon pointed at you or are you just being facetious? Seems that if someone already has their weapon pointed at you that by the time you reach and draw you may as well have taken a wine glass to a gun fight.

    Cheers!
    xylem01

    Guess if your just planning on standing there.... a glass of wine might be in order.... but a moving target is far more difficult to hit. I am a far cry from an ordinary gun toting citizen. My military and SWAT training will help.

  • Trabman_san Aug 28, 2013

    Where are the Gang of 88? They should be out there banging pots & pans in SUPPORT of these criminals like they did for Crystal Gail Mangum & Nifong.

  • dishman Aug 28, 2013

    tox1doc2 - The allegation by the former employee of UNC is very questionable since she reported less assaults than the campus police. Don't believe every headline you read.

  • tsquaring Aug 28, 2013

    Just post "Gun Free Zone" signs everywhere and tell the women to carry rape whistles. I'm sure everything will be just fine.

  • xylem01 Aug 28, 2013

    I can draw my CC and fire a shot in under 3 seconds. Mr. Robber is not going to have to wait long to be served. - mep

    But mep, will 3 seconds give you enough time when you already have a weapon pointed at you or are you just being facetious? Seems that if someone already has their weapon pointed at you that by the time you reach and draw you may as well have taken a wine glass to a gun fight.

    Cheers!

  • tox1doc2 Aug 28, 2013

    The difference here is that Duke reports crimes committed on its campus...unlike another university nearby...

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