Late this afternoon I learned that four of our William & Mary students -- two men and two women -- have been the victims of an armed robbery off-campus. On Monday evening at approximately 10:00 p.m. the four students (along with another male friend who is not a student at the College) were walking home in the 1300 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue when two unknown males armed with a handgun and possibly a knife approached them from behind demanding various personal items. We are grateful that our students were not physically harmed during the incident. Williamsburg City Police responded immediately and are leading an investigation. Staff members in the Dean of Students Office are reaching out to the students involved to provide them with additional support and resources. The suspects are described as either black or Hispanic males in their late teens to early twenties, approximately 5'9'' to 5'10'' tall and of medium build. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the police at 1-800-Lock-U-Up or 757-220-2331.
We think of the Williamsburg area as a safe place. Relatively speaking, it is. What happened last night is an unfortunate reminder, however, that even in a community as special as Williamsburg crimes can and do occur. There may be nothing we can do to fully insulate ourselves from the reality of crime in our world. At the same time, it is helpful to remember that there are measures we can and should take to increase our level of personal safety. When venturing out after dark it is always wise to travel with friends or call ESCORT (221-3293) for a safe walk/ride. And, as the students in this case did, call the police immediately if something happens to you or if you see suspicious activity -- on campus or off, use 911.
I know you share my sense of relief that, as frightening as this experience must have been, our students were not harmed. As we begin this academic year, let us all continue to watch out for one another.
Virginia M. Ambler, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs
The College of William and Mary