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A female University student was robbed at knifepoint Wednesday afternoon on the 3800 block of Sansom Street, according to University Police.

The student was walking west when the suspect, who is described as a female juvenile, approached her from behind and demanded money, University Chief of Police Thomas Rambo said. He added that the suspect "displayed" a kitchen knife, noting, "I believe it was placed on the right side of her back."

The student handed over her wallet and lost sight of the suspect, who fled west on Sansom Street. The student did not sustain any "significant injuries," according to Rambo.

The suspect is a black female between the ages of 12 and 16, standing roughly 5 feet in height and weighing approximately 100 pounds, according to police. She is said to have a dark complexion and "black hair tied back into two small ponytails." She was wearing a white hooded cotton jacket and blue jeans at the time.

Penn's campus and its surrounding area have seen an unusually high number of crimes since the academic year began less than a month ago. There have been at least 16 reports of robberies in the University Police Department's patrol area, far surpassing last year's numbers in the same time period, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said earlier this week. Several have included a weapon of some type, and most have taken place in the evening or early morning hours.

In response, the University has raised security measures, including increases in police presence and video surveillance. However, Rambo said that police do not believe Wednesday's incident was connected to the others.

"At this time, it does not appear to be related to any of the other robberies," he said. He added that police have developed some leads in this case, and the student "is an excellent witness, and we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to bring this [case] to a conclusion and apprehend the offender."

In regards to the suspect's young age, Rambo noted a rise in juvenile crime across the country.

"There seems to be a trend citywide and nationwide with the increase of juvenile offenders," he said. He added that of the recent incidents, the majority of the alleged assailants "have been adults; however, we do have some teenage suspects."

In late April, police investigated a series of juvenile assaults, which occurred primarily in the area of 40th and Pine streets. However, suspects in those cases, who were West Philadelphia residents, were identified and apprehended at that time and over the summer.

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