ARLINGTON — After half a dozen robberies in only a few weeks, students at the University of Texas at Arlington are being urged to take extra precautions on and around campus.
Most of the robberies have targeted women during evening hours. Cell phones and purses have been snatched — sometimes at gunpoint.
"You just don't feel safe," said student Matias Zatonyl.
The junior was studying on Monday night when he received yet another MavAlert text message detailing a robbery near the Lipscomb parking lot.
The incident follows one last week where a woman said a man ripped a phone out of her hands and ran.
There were two other, recent robberies on campus in which women had cell phones taken.
A gun was displayed in one of those crimes, according to the UT Arlington Police Department.
"You're here on campus and don't feel safe, even walking to my car," said 21-year-old Katie Obennoskey.
According to the university's 2013 Annual Campus Fire and Safety Report, there were only six listed robberies in all of 2012. There were two in 2011.
A school representative said via e-mail that UTA is dealing with the recent incidents by urging staff and students to be vigilant:
"University police have increased patrols, especially near parking lots during evening hours. The University has been urging members of our community through a variety of channels to avoid walking alone at night and call for a security escort when needed, to keep their cell phones hidden when walking at night, to be aware of surroundings and to contact police with information about any related incident, among other measures."
University police also made four arrests last week in connection with at least one of the cases.
Anyone with information about the other crimes is encouraged to contact UTA campus police at 817-272-3381.