By Jade Mardirosian
In light of the recent increase in crime around campus, including a Taco Bell drive through incident Wednesday night, Baylor Police are urging students to take extra precautions to stay safe.
Rodney Scott, 35, was charged with robbery and criminal trespass early Thursday in connection with the Taco Bell robbery.
Scott’s bail is set at $25,000 for robbery and $5,000 for criminal trespass. He has not posted bail and is being held at McLennan County Jail.
The victim said Scott walked up to their car asking for money. After the victim gave Scott a dollar bill, he demanded more money and reached toward his jacket pocket. At that point the victim threw change at Scott and drove away in fear that Scott had a weapon. The victim called police at 11:42 p.m. Wednesday.
Previous robberies include an armed robbery at 10:35 p.m. Monday at 12th Street and Bagby Avenue, a 7 a.m. robbery Nov. 21 at the Baylor Arms Apartments, an 8:10 a.m. armed robbery Nov. 9 at the La Mirage Apartments and four armed robberies in Oct., including the Oct. 30 robbery in the 1500 block of South Ninth Street. Tresten Robinson, 19, was charged with one count of robbery-bodily injury in connection with the incident.
Waco police do not believe Wednesday night’s incident is related to other robberies around campus, but urge students to take precautions.
“Look around and know what is going on and who is around you,” Baylor Police chief Jim Doak said.
Doak shared a simple tip for students to protect themselves when walking to their car or through parking lots.
“[Students should] take one of the keys in their hand put it between their forefinger and middle finger, and that becomes a weapon,” Doak said. “If someone attacks you, those first few seconds are crucial because that sets the tone and if the male or female [student] turns around with keys in hand, [the robber] does not expect that. That is prevention that can be worth a lot; it is very inexpensive — everyone has a key.”
Doak said a few years ago, one female student was able to defend herself against an attacker by using this tip.
“She was able to slash him right across the face [with the key],” Doak said. “She defended herself very nicely and we were able to make the arrest on them.”
Doak said students should try to always be with a friend when going places, especially at night.
“We don’t want people to feel this is an unsafe area right now,” Doak said. “[Students should] be vigilant and be mindful of people approaching you don’t recognize or don’t know.”
With Christmas break quickly approaching, many students will be leaving for an extended period of time, which could possibly leave homes and apartments susceptible to burglaries. Doak said a radio left on inside could serve as a simple deterrent to possible burglars.
“A radio left on is going to send the message that somebody might be in there, and burglars don’t like to go into places that are occupied,” Doak said.
In the event students are at home while a possible burglary is taking place, Doak said occupants should make a lot of noise, in an attempt to deter the burglar, and immediately dial 911 or call Baylor Police.
Doak stressed the importance of contacting the police immediately after a crime occurs.
“To us, the biggest concern is that students delay in calling [police] for some reason,” Doak said. “It is hard for us to understand the delay because it greatly hurts the chances of us finding the perpetrator.”
Doak said students should not hesitate to contact Baylor Police, at 254-710-2222, in the event of an emergency, since they can often respond to crimes in the area around campus quicker than city police.
“Our response time is going to be two to three times faster than Waco [Police},” Doak said.
Doak said Baylor Police continue to heavily patrol the area around campus and investigate the recent robberies, along with Waco Police.
“Waco police is making contact with the victims and trying to turn over any stone that may give clues to who the perpetrators are,” Doak said.
Sargeant Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department said there are no new leads in the cases.