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By Alison Block, For The Miami Student
Rumors have been circulating of gangs in Oxford; one, identified by their use of monkey masks, and the other by their red shirts. However, according to the Oxford Police Department (OPD), those rumors are completely unfounded.
"We checked with ours and with Miami's records, and we have received no calls in reference to any of this," OPD Sergeant Jon Varley said. "We have had nothing, no damage, no assaults, no burglaries, no nothing that was attributed to them."
Concern was first brought to OPD's attention through phone calls from Miami students' parents.
"I guess it got posted on the parents Facebook page," Varley said. "I don't know how it got on there but it started blowing up that there were gangs running around and we had parents call us later in the week asking if everything was safe for their kids, and we'd tell them 'we don't have anything.'"
One parent commented on the page: "I know this sounds ridiculous, but my [daughter] saw a group of people in gorilla masks and was told to be careful because they have targeted sorority girls on campus. Not sure if this is just a rumor, so thought I would see if anyone else had heard of it."
Others noted the gang was possibly "knife-carrying" and mostly centered Uptown, but OPD has not heard mention of activities like that, either.
Varley adamantly dismissed the rumors, citing again that had there been any gang-related, gorilla mask related, red-shirt-related or knife-related incidents, OPD or MUPD would have heard about it.
"[The Miami University Police Department is] the same way, they've got nothing attributing to any of this, and it sounds like it's just a rumor that has just taken on a life of its own," Varley said.
Vigilant as MUPD and OPD officers are, it is smart to never walk alone during late hours, keep to lit paths and always be aware of your surroundings. Though the rumors of gangs in Oxford and at Miami might give people extra reason to be cautious, there really is no evidence to support the rumors.
"We've told people: if you know somebody who has some first-hand knowledge on this, we would love to know," Varley said. "It just seems to be a big rumor mill."