Jalen Beene and James Robinson (suspects for robberies near U of L)

Jalen Beene and James Robinson (Source: Louisville Metro Corrections)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Crime is up near the University of Louisville campus, and steps are being taken to increase police patrols. 

Louisville Metro Police and the U of L Police are joining forces to address "a recent uptick of incidents," including armed robberies near the Belknap campus since the beginning of the year.

U of L Police Chief Gary Lewis and Maj. Josh Judah of LMPD announced a partnership on Wednesday aimed at increasing safety. There have been at least seven recent incidents, including two business robberies, near campus since Jan. 1.

As a result of those incidents, Judah said LMPD's 4th Division officers are teaming up with U of L officers to increase security in the area, at "focused times, based on when the crimes are occurring."

The news came just hours after Judah said two people were robbed at gunpoint at 10 a.m. near The Retreat at Louisville, student housing located on Manor Park Drive near the U of L campus. The victims were not students.

According to arrest reports, 20-year-old James Robinson arranged to buy marijuana from the victims on Snapchat. The victims agreed to meet Robinson on Davies Avenue. 

Police say both Robinson and 19-year-old Jalen Beene showed up for the meeting. Both men got into the back of the victims' car, and Robinson put a handgun to the back of one of the victims' heads, demanding the victim's property. 

He took a bag of marijuana.

Police say Beene also pulled a gun and took an iPhone X and a wallet from the other victim.

Both men were later arrested at The Province apartments. Police say they determined that one of the guns used in the robbery was a BB gun. 

They are charged with first-degree robbery and criminal trespassing.

It's not clear if the two suspects were involved in a separate robbery that took place Monday, just before 4 p.m. The robbery happened at the Province Apartments near the intersection of West Shipp Avenue and South Seventh Street. Police are not releasing much information about the crime, but they do describe the suspect as a black male in a grey hoodie and black pants. Police say he was last seen heading toward South Seventh Street in a silver or gold Pontiac or Oldsmobile.

Given the increase in robberies, Lewis cautioned U of L students to remember that "we're in a metropolitan area." As a result, he emphasized the importance of students to always be aware of their surroundings, and if you "see something, say something."

For his part, he added that, "24-hour policing is very important ... I think you have to be concerned no matter where you send your student." 

Students say they're concerned.

"People have definitely been talking about it," U of L senior Kelby Swanson said. "I think it has been more alarming just knowing that it has happened a lot more recently and a lot of them in a short period of time.

"It's a little scary, especially because it hit so close to home," U of L sophomore Isabela Leslie added.

Anyone with any information on the robbery is asked to call the U of L Police Department at (502)-852-6111.

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