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Safety concern as new year begins at UNC

Posted August 16, 2008
Updated August 17, 2008

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— As thousands of students unload their belongings and start a new year of learning, public safety is prime concern at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

"We always try to put forth the message that we certainly aren't immune to crime here," said Randy Young, a spokesman for UNC public safety.

In July, university police reported two strong-armed robberies on the north campus late at night. In both incidents, the victims were hit from behind and had wallets and ATM cards stolen from them.

A student was the victim of one robbery; a female alumna and her brother, of the second. In that incident, a UNC public safety officer responded quickly, drew his gun and scared off the robber.

"Larceny is still the most prevalent crime here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill," Young said. "So being alert to your surroundings, being alert to where your property is (important)."

Young encouraged students to sign up for Alert Carolina, an emergency warning program that sends text messages to cell phones and sets off sirens campus-wide.

Alert Carolina was launched March 26, three weeks after Student Body President Eve Carson was found shot to death in a residential neighborhood a half-mile from campus. Demario James Atwater, 22, and Laurence Alvin Lovette Jr., 18, face first-degree murder and armed robbery charges in her death.

"After the Eve Carson thing, people kind of thought about their actions more," UNC sophomore Kesley Tiffey said. "Like at night, I know some of my friends tried to be smarter about it, walking with another person, leaving earlier getting back to their dorms."

North Carolina State University operates a similar emergency-warning system, called the WolfAlert.

UNC has issued public-safety tips for students.


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