ODU students frustrated with crime surrounding campus

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by Nick Ochsner, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on November 7, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 7 at 7:40 PM

NORFOLK -- On its surface, Old Dominion University's campus crime report paints a picture of a safe environment for students.

According to the report, which includes a litany of crimes that occur on and directly adjacent to campus, there were no assaults nor robberies on campus in 2012 - a drop from just two years earlier, when there were four reports of each crime on campus.

Adjacent public sidewalks and streets paint a slightly different picture - three aggravated assaults and two robberies in 2012.

But a 13News Now investigation has uncovered that the area surrounding ODU's campus is a different story.

"I just heard shots fired in the air," student Ethan Atno-Shelton said recently.

Atno-Shelton was walking home from the bar, just off campus near the intersection of 41st Street Killam Ave., early last Thursday morning when he became a witness to a shooting.

One eyewitness account said a man fired nearly a dozen shots into the air to break up a fight that night.

"It's like the third of fourth shooting that's happened on this street, it's just ridiculous," Atno-Shelton said.  He is correct.  

According to crime data obtained from the Norfolk Police Department, there have been six aggravated assaults in the area surrounding ODU's campus since classes started in late August. There were four robberies in the same area during the same time.

"This is on campus, pretty much," Atno-Shelton said. "This is a block away from campus and there's shootings, like, once a week. It's ridiculous. They need to do something about it."

ODU Police Chief Rhonda Harris refused to talk with 13News Now on camera about what her department is doing to cut down on crime around campus.

Bu in a statement Harris said campus police, "have been working aggressively and proactively since before the semester began to discourage large, open access parties and activities that encourage individuals from outside the area to the areas near campus."

Harris claims her department's efforts, with help from Norfolk Police, has led to a reduction in robberies and other crimes surrounding campus.

If you ask students like Atno-Shelton though, more work needs to be done.

"I didn't feel like I was ‘gonna be this close to it," he said. "It's a lot more real once you're here. It's sketchy."

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