RCMP investigating six possibly related sexual assaults on UBC's Point Grey campus
The number of related sexual assaults that have occurred on the UBC Point Grey campus could be as many as six, according to a statement the B.C. RCMP made today (October 29).
The latest attack occurred on Sunday, October 27, at approximately 1:30 a.m., according to RMCP Sgt. Peter Thiessen, who was speaking at a joint press conference alongside UBC vice president for students Louise Cowin.
The RCMP previously alerted the public to three attacks that occurred within three weeks beginning on September 28, 2013. The RCMP has now said that incidents that occurred on April 19 and May 19 along with Sunday’s assault bring the total of possibly related assaults to six.
In addition, the Ubyssey newspaper reported on another attack that allegedly occurred on October 19 that was not reported to the RCMP. If confirmed as connected to the attacks discussed today, the total number of assaults is seven.
A UBC media release details a number of measures that UBC and the RCMP are implementing to enhance security and students’ safety on campus. Those include:
- Additional nightly security patrols around student residences
- Organizing escorted walking programs for evenings
- Increasing the availability of university counselling services
- Increasing support for the AMS Sexual Assault Support Centre and for the AMS Safewalk program
Those actions are being taken in addition to a number of other safety measures previously announced by the university after a pattern was observed in the assaults that occurred over the course of September and October.
“The RCMP is working around the clock, with assistance from UBC campus security, to quickly identify and apprehend the perpetrator responsible for these attacks,” said Thiessen, quoted in the release. “We want to speak to anyone who may have information that can assist us, including any other victims or witnesses that have yet to come forward.”
Today UBC president Stephen Toope also published a letter in which he urged the community stand together and asked for students and staff to support one another.
“This latest news will no doubt be frightening to many of you, so if you feel you need to talk, please do not hesitate to make use of the UBC, AMS and RCMP counselling services listed on our new safety web site: http://www.ubc.ca/staysafe,” Toope wrote. “In the days to come, until the alleged perpetrator is apprehended, I ask you to be extra vigilant. Make sure you have the information you need to stay safe. The ultimate choice is yours, but the RCMP is advising you not to walk alone after dark. Please look out for each other.”
Students looking for company for a late-night walk home can get in touch with the AMS Safewalk program by calling 604.822.5355 or by picking up a UBC Blue Phone and asking for Safewalk.