Gainesville police step up patrols around UF after rash of armed robberies

FOX 35 News at 5 p.m.

- Gainesville Police on Wednesday announced they are stepping up patrols after recent armed robberies near campus. One of the key things they're doing is asking University of Florida police to expand their patrols around campus. They want to make sure people see these officers around campus, and that these areas are saturated with police officers.

This comes after another reported armed robbery near UF Tuesday night. The victim told police two men approached him while walking on SW 3rd Ave near UF. The victim told them one suspect asked for a lighter, then pulled out a gun, pointed it at his chest and demanded his wallet and phone.

The victim gave them up, and the suspects ran away. Those suspects are on the loose. Gainesville Police said reported armed robberies are up in recent months. So far this year, officers have investigated 150-200 reported robberies, which is more than last year.

To address the problem, the police department is suspending in-service training, to put those offers on the streets.

Ben Tobias, Spokesperson for GPD said "There's going to be a lot more cops on the street. But, folks have to practice good safety themselves. Always know what's around you 360 degrees. Walk in well-lit areas. Walk in groups if you can. More importantly, have a way to call for help if needed. If you don't have a phone, be able to yell or scream or make some sort of noise."

In terms of how long this resource shift will last, GPD says they'll do it as long as it takes to fix the issue.

If you have any information on these or other armed robberies, call GPD’s detective division at 325-393-7670, or remain anonymous by calling 352.393.7700. You can also text “GPDFL” and your information to 274-637.

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