UNC students on edge after sexual assault reported at parking lot

Orange County News

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students are concerned after a crime alert Thursday morning. A sexual assault was reported at a popular student parking lot.

Laura Perrotta is one of many UNC students who park their cars at the Friday Center Park and Ride lot, and then hop on the bus that takes them to campus. She’s used the lot for months, but now she’s concerned. 

“I first heard about it because of a friend who texted me and said, ‘Hey, I know you park at the Friday Center, are you OK,’ and I was like, ‘I’m fine. What are you talking about,’” Perrotta said. 

Perrotta didn’t know an alert went out to students about a woman who had been sexually assaulted in the parking lot.  

“When I saw it, it was just kind of like ‘Oh, not again.’ Like, these things happen a lot and it’s really unfortunate,” she said. 

UNC police said a man touched a student inappropriately as she walked to the bus shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday.   

Police searched the area but did not find him. That has students worried.  

“I thought that this was a safe area,” said UNC grad student Jenna Duerr. She also received an alert about the incident.  “Now I am worried about getting assaulted in the parking lot at anytime of day.”  

Duerr added that she is going to buy some pepper spray. Perrotta said she’s going to continue parking at the lot, but has advice for all students.  

“Be aware of your surroundings, as always, but you should be that way anytime anywhere that you are,” she said.

Security guards monitor the parking lot during the day. It’s unclear whether one was on-duty Thursday morning when the incident happened.   

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