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Students concerned after string of sexual assaults around UW: ‘I feel less safe … for sure’

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SEATTLE -- A recent string of sexual assaults on and near the University of Washington campus has many students concerned.

In the last month, Seattle Police and University of Washington Police reported four incidents of sexual assault in the area.

Police at the University of Washington said they trying to do everything they can to keep everyone on campus, safe.

“I feel less safe than I did before, for sure,” said Kaylinne Schaffer, a UW junior.

Around the campus, people are talking about the recent crimes.

“It’s terrible. No body should be sexually assaulted, especially on campus. You should feel safe on campus,” said Bennie Parayil, a senior at the U.W.

Last week, University of Washington Police say a man groped several women on campus and even tried to rape one of them after locking her in a lab room.

Several people jumped in to help the woman, and held the suspect until police got there.

“It was a very unfortunate and horrible situation, but we we’re dealing with an individual who appeared to be significantly impacted by drugs at the time,” said UW Police Maj. Steve Rittereiser.

However, that’s not the only assault that has put many on edge in this area.

On May 6, Seattle Police said a man sexually assaulted a woman around 1 a.m. in the alley near 15 Avenue NE and 56th Street.

Days before that, on May 1, campus police said a woman walking on the Burke Gilman Trail had a man approach her from behind and grope her.

On April 16, a woman walking between Roosevelt Way Northeast and 11th Avenue reported to police that a man grabbed her and forced her into an alley where he sexually assaulted her.

So far police say they have not made any arrests in those assault cases.

“This is a very safe community. It’s a very safe campus. We’ve had a couple of incidents recently that have popped up and that’s very concerning,” added Rittereiser.

Many students are now being extra vigilant around campus.

“I do carry pepper spray, but I usually keep it in my bag. I feel like I don’t need to have it out. I also never listen to music walking alone and I’m never looking down at my phone. I’m always just aware of where I am and who’s around me,” said Regina Lionheart, a UW junior.

Campus police say they are trying to provide extra patrols and will be more visible around the area, but they say students should use caution and report anything suspicious they see.