University of Oregon students on edge following uptick in violen - KPTV - FOX 12

University of Oregon students on edge following uptick in violent crimes

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University of Oregon students are feeling uneasy after a rash of violent crimes near campus.

In the latest case, a student was kidnapped by a stranger and sexually assaulted, according to university police. 

The department said the student reported that he was walking near East 19th Avenue and Agate Street on Saturday night when he was grabbed from behind by an unknown man, restrained, dragged to a car, driven to an unknown location and sexually assaulted.

Police said another student was attacked earlier this month when three men grabbed her and used knives to try to cut her backpack straps off her. That attack was also close to campus. 

It all comes as Eugene Police are investigating a string of armed robbery reports in recent months, with some of them occurring near campus.

“Students are very anxious and also very scared,” said Associated Students of The University of Oregon President Amy Schenk Tuesday. “It’s very concerning that these events not only have happened, but keep occurring.”

University police said they are responding by doubling down on safety efforts.

Chief Matthew Carmichael said his officers are working overtime shifts and they’ve recently added a few unarmed patrol guards to keep watch.

New cameras were installed off-campus on streets where some of the crimes have occurred. 

Student-ride services have expanded hours and added more shuttles to give students more options to get home safely.

“We’re showing our parents that there’s nothing more important than safety on campus,” Carmichael said. 

Campus Shuttle Coordinator Kylan Carlson said they’ve seen a 463 percent increase in ridership since adding more services.

Jamie Fredrick is a Lane Community College student who lives close to where the student’s backpack was nearly cut off during that robbery attempt.

“It’s just kind of scary, going outside – knowing that everything has been happening,” Fredrick said. “We had like car break-ins, like bikes stolen, but I didn’t really think Eugene was that scary until the last couple of months, when I’ve been hearing about all this crime and it’s kind of scary to hear about.”

Carmichael and Eugene police said the recent uptick in crime is abnormal for the area. 

“It is an unusual spike. I haven’t seen something like this,” Carmichael said. “This is a pretty unique type of situation.”

He said that he and other university staff have fielded more calls too from concerned students and parents. 

The university said it sent out an alert on the crimes to students, staff and the parents they have listed on file. 

Fredrick said she feels better knowing that police are stepping up. 

“I can tell that the police have been patrolling – like when I’m out late, I see them and I do appreciate that,” Fredrick said.

University police said expanded ride services and other safety precautions will remain in place during the upcoming spring break.

Carmichael told FOX 12 that the investigations into the crimes involving students are in the very early stages.

Those crimes were originally reported to Eugene Police. The department turned over the investigation to campus police since the incidents involved students and were close to campus.

Carmichael said campus police were not alerted to the crimes until Monday.

In an email to FOX 12, Eugene Police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said the department’s follow-up on the incidents “does not meet our performance expectations.”

Mclaughlin also said, “We are working closely with the University of Oregon to make sure all information is exchanged expediently. We specifically discussed our mutual plans and operations with the UO today at a 10 a.m. meeting.”

Anyone with information about the sexual assault case or attempted robbery case should contact University of Oregon Police.

Police are asking students to remain vigilant and report crimes and suspicious activity right away.

More information about University of Oregon shuttle services can be found here: https://map.uoregon.edu/campus-shuttle

For other campus safety tips and resources, visit: https://dos.uoregon.edu/help 

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