Robberies Rise Sharply in USC Area

From a Times Staff Writer

Robberies at or near USC increased by more than 50% last year and campus police say they are deploying more officers in an effort to reverse the trend.

Tom Hehiz, a USC Department of Public Safety deputy chief, said there were 31 robberies on property owned or controlled by the university in 2001, compared with 20 in 2000.

"I think it's partially because of the economy, which isn't as good as it was in the past," he said Friday. "There are more suspects out there."

Hehiz said most of the victims were students. Most of the crimes occurred on the north side of the campus, where many students live, he added.

"These are robberies by fear and by force," he said. "In some cases, weapons were displayed. Typically, they take wallets and purses."

Hehiz said campus police are working with the Los Angeles Police Department, increasing the deployment of uniformed and plainclothes officers in and around the campus.

"We had 20 people out there last night," Hehiz said.

"With more resources out there, I think we will solve the problem."

He said students and faculty members are urged to travel in pairs at night.

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