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Is crime near VCU on the rise?

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Lindsey Gilmore and her parents feel quite safe strolling across VCU’s campus near Monroe Park, but the sophomore’s parents admit a recent crime spree in and near campus is troubling.

“My daughter is in her second year. As a parent I’m concerned about this,” Joann Gilmore from Charlotte, NC told Greg McQuade Friday.

A rash of robberies since the beginning of the school year is making headlines and students on edge.

However, Richmond police say the number of robberies from January to Mid-October is trending downward when compared to the last few years.

For example, in 2007 individual robberies were recorded. In 2008 the number dipped to 83. In 2009, the number dropped to 77. In 2010, the number fell to 65. Last year the number of individual robberies fell to 48. So far this year the number is 51.

Some students say perception is everything. They say it appears crime is way up because of the number of text and email alerts sent by the school alerting them of recent crimes.

“It is something that makes you pay attention,” freshman Laith Marsi said.

The warnings Lindsey Gilmore and her parents say she can’t live without no matter how safe they feel.

“I always thought of going to a school in the city so of course there is going to be crime, but it never deterred my decision,” Gilmore said.

Like many other schools participating in the Federal Financial Aid program, VCU must disclose information about crime as part of the Federal Cleary Act. Failure to do so could cost the school $27,500 for each violation.