BALTIMORE — Stephanie Parker said she was unpacking to prepare for the start of the school year when she got an email about crime near the Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus.
“My father was actually pretty alarmed,” she said. “He was not wanting to leave me there.“
She’s a freshman. Parker said this is not how she imagined her first year of college would start.
“They kind of just waited until we got here to let us know when they should’ve let us know before so we all could’ve been prepared in a different way,” she said.
The university’s Office of Campus Safety and Security sent out a “Special Security Advisory” earlier this week warning students about a series of carjackings.
In the email, it said all four crimes happened in seven days—blocks away from the university.
“Yes, it’s really scary to hear stuff like that,” said senior Charlie Katz.
The university said the incidents happened between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. It also said it appears the crimes were committed by the same group of juveniles.
“Yes, it’s extremely concerning that the same group of teenagers are doing the same thing in the same exact area,” said freshman Tinu Owolabi.
None of the victims were affiliated with the school, according to the advisory. Due to the serious nature of the robberies, the university is increasing patrols in the area.
Some students said they’ve noticed their presence and feel safe around campus
“Even when you’re leaving your door, you see campus security roaming around. You always feel a sense of security and you feel well protected,” said Toriyn Dotson, who is a JHU student.
The carjacking suspects are still out there, which has some students feeling uneasy.
“That could be any one of us students that they maybe even shoot or kill because we are witnesses to their crime, so its very important to me that we get something done about this,” said Owolabi.
If you have any information about the incidents, you’re asked to give Baltimore Police a call.
The university sent out this information to help prevent students from being a victim of a carjacking:
Getting Into Your Vehicle:
- Walk with purpose and remain alert at all times.
- Trust your instincts - if something makes you feel uneasy, get into the car quickly, lock the doors, and drive away.
- Keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at least part-way.
- When coming to a stop, leave enough room to maneuver around other cars, especially if you sense trouble and need to get away.
- Drive in the center lane to make it harder for someone on foot to approach the car, without being seen.
- Travel with someone else whenever possible.
- Park in well-lighted areas, near sidewalks or other people and vehicles. Avoid parking near dimly lit areas, large vans or trucks, or anything else that limits your visibility.
- Place valuables – even coins or phone chargers – in the trunk or otherwise out of sight.
- When possible, park in parking garages that have attendants.
- Look around before you exit the vehicle and stay alert to the surroundings.
If You Become A Victim:
- If the carjacker threatens you, give up your car. Do not argue or attempt to fight.
- If there is a child in the car, tell the carjacker "my child is in the car."
- Get away and to a safe place as quickly as possible.
- Try to remember what the carjacker looked like and the clothes they wore.
- Call 911 immediately.
We also offer 24/7 walking escort services in the campus area by calling 410-516-7777.
The LifeSafe smartphone app is a useful, free tool to connect you with all safety and security resources from JH Public Safety.