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Drake Increases Campus Security After Series of Recent Crimes Against Students

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Drake University says it is increasing security around campus after a series of recent crimes against students.

Last week an alert was sent out after two students were robbed of their wallets at gunpoint.

That was the third robbery near campus in the last month. No one was injured in any of the robberies.

“These crimes happened on the periphery of campus. Nothing has happened within the heart of the campus at this point in time so we think its someone who has come into the area and it's just trying to take advantage of what they see as an opportunity,” Executive Director of Public Safety University Operations Scott Law said.

The school is planning to increase the number of Des Moines Police officers around campus and school officials are also adding to the public safety coverage.

“We've increased the number of public safety officers we have on at any one time. We have the largest private university public safety department in the state of Iowa. So we've moved our staff to 12 hour shifts so that we maximize the number of officers we have on duty at all times,” Law said.

The school said a security camera on a nearby home recorded one of the robberies and the video has been turned over to Des Moines Police.

Three other Drake University students said they are now living in fear after someone broke into their apartment while they were gone on Saturday night, stole two cars, their wallets, a passport and tore through their belongings.

“There were people in my room looking through my stuff. I have a lot of pictures of my friends and I and my family. And I mean they have a lot of my personal stuff too. Just knowing that someone was in here in my stuff, it's an invasion of privacy and it's very uncomfortable and kind of traumatizing at the same time,” Drake Student Paige Aspinwall said.

Faith Wilson said someone broke into Aspinwall and Chloe Janich’s apartment and stole her keys and then took her car.

"I don't walk anywhere by myself after 8 or 9 pm, but I thought it'd never happen to me or to my best friends or anyone close to me. I guess it's just not something you are prepared to think about at our age or any age,” Wilson said.

Aspinwall’s car, wallet and passport were also stolen during the break in.

Janich said these cars being stolen means they have to walk everywhere or catch a ride when they can which makes them even more vulnerable now.

"Not even being able to drive yourself somewhere to make sure you're not walking and maybe another target for something else. I feel like it's just added to this already unsafe environment and stress,” Janich said.

Janich, Wilson and Aspinwall said they plan to go everywhere in pairs.

"Just be more aware. Like when you are walking to your apartment from your car don't be on your phone. You know, that's something I would do before this and now I would never do that again," Aspinwall said.

Janich said Drake reached out to them and has been very responsive about the situation.

“I would never consider transferring,” Janich said.

Drake has also extended hours of SafeRide, starting Sunday the hours will expand to 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. every day of the week at least through November 20.