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Gunmen rob student

A group of men robbed a female USF student at gunpoint just off campus early Tuesday morning.

University Police (UP) spokeswoman Lt. Meg Ross sent out a community alert on Tuesday describing the circumstances surrounding the incident.

According to the police report, four white men approached the victim in an older car and demanded all of her possessions after pointing a silver pistol at her at 1:59 a.m. near 50th Street and USF Elm Street. They then fled the scene after she complied.

“The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has the case and is investigating it because it happened off campus,” Ross said. “We put out the alert because it happened so close to campus and it involved a student.”

Ross said the Hillborough County Sheriff’s Office “will look around the area (to see) if there were any cameras, whether it’s a store front or something, that might have caught anything that could lead them to a suspect.”

“The new initiatives – Rave Guardian, Smart 911, SAFE Team – (are) now part of the police department,” she said. “We try to push these to make sure that students pay attention to their surroundings.”

Ross suggests students take precautions such as not walking alone at night and reporting suspicious behavior.

“Use your Rave Guardian if you’re going to be out at two in the morning, and set your timer. That way, if something happens, we can get your GPS coordinates and respond quickly,” she said.

Through the Rave Guardian program a student can call a 1-800 number and let them know the length of time they expect to be walking. When the time limit expires the student will receive a text message that will need a response on whether or not they have reached their destination. If a student does not respond, a voice message will be sent to the phone and, if needed, a UP officer will be sent to their location through the GPS on their phone.

Charissa Hicks, a junior majoring in psychology, said, “I think they should probably increase security, not just on campus, but off campus.”

Hicks said that a lack of security off campus can make traveling scary.

“So maybe they need to focus on that (and) more control around the area,” she said.