SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Seven sex assault cases in three months last year, including one where a woman reported being kidnapped by several men and attacked, put students at Sacramento State on edge and police on high alert.
“I was just scared to go outside like at night,” student Andrea Hansen said.
“I’ve had girls call and be like, ‘hey can you pick me up from the library and take me to my dorms?'” said another student, Nathaniel Braun.
So this year Sac State police are taking a more proactive approach. For the first time ever, a campus police corporal is dedicated to watch over dorms as well as the off-campus apartments nearby.
Corporal Jeff Solomon’s office is among the dorms. His door is always open when he’s there — and when he’s not.
“I leave my door open so they can come in,” said Solomon. “They can file reports directly here with me. I’m going back and forth. I walk the halls. I walk and meet with all the RA’s that do desk duty.”
The students get to know him, and police hope that relationship helps students feel more comfortable making reports.
Last year a wanted murder suspect lived in one of the dorms with a Sac State student, and no one said anything until police went looking.
“We urge people to report suspicious behavior to our police department,” said Lt. Dave Heaphy.
This year police want people to know they’re watching. And it seems it’s working.
“You do see more cop cars around here driving, patrolling,” Braun said.
Another student, Andrea Hansen, agreed. “I see so many police around the school,” she said. “I’ll just be driving and there’ll be like five police cars everywhere so I feel safer with all the police.”
Another change is using more students to expand the community services program.
“Sometimes if I walk out at like 11, one of them will approach me and say ‘Do you need an escort? Where are you going?'” said Alexis Smith.
There’s also more emergency phones scattered around campus and surveillance cameras are now attached to the phones to capture the callers and their surroundings.
Police want criminals to take note that they’re watching now more than ever.