A University student’s purse was snatched at around 7:30 a.m. Friday, adding to the recent rash of criminal activity near campus, police said.

The victim was walking westbound along the 1400 block of Washington Heights, near the School of Public Health, when a man came from behind and grabbed her purse. He fled on foot toward Observatory Road.

The victim described the suspect as a six-foot-tall black male with a large build and short afro. He was wearing a long-sleeve black shirt, dark blue jeans and black shoes and did not appear to be armed.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said she doesn’t think the incident was related to the recent armed robberies, as the suspect descriptions don’t match.

“This is a black guy,” she said. “The more notable (crimes) are an older white man.”

And although Brown acknowledged the increase in near-campus crime, she said improved police coordination and reporting of crimes might play into the upswing of known activity.

“It is not necessarily a reflection on the level of activity, as much as it might be better collaboration between U of M and Ann Arbor,” she said.

Michigan’s souring economy could be contributing to the increase in criminal activity, Brown added.

“I still think that tougher economic times tend to result in more criminal activity occurring, and people behaving a little more desperate sometimes,” she said. “Tending not to do it so much as hidden crimes, but more brazen and more public.”

The Department of Public Safety issued a crime alert to campus about three hours after the incident, asking anyone with information about the incident to call (734)763-1131 with tips.

This week’s other street robberies still have the campus concerned.
In the first incident, an unknown man approached a University student sitting on his porch on Oakland Avenue near East University Avenue at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

The man brandished a handgun and demanded the student’s wallet. After the student gave the man money, the man fled on foot.

In a second incident, an unknown man approached a student walking on Washtenaw Avenue near Hill Street around midnight Wednesday.

The man pressed a cold object against the student’s back and asked for money. After the victim gave the man money, the suspect fled the scene.

Both victims described the man as about a 30-year-old, 6-foot-3 white man, leading police to believe one man may be behind both incidents.

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