USC president: "I am outraged that our campus has fallen victim - FOX Carolina 21

USC president: "I am outraged that our campus has fallen victim to senseless violence"

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Reacting to at least three recent reports of violent crime at the University of South Carolina, President Harris Pastides says the department responsible for keeping the campus safe is adding six new officers and investing in additional tools to deter crime.

Pastides made that assurance a day after a female reported to authorities that she had been sexually assaulted and robbed on campus.

In an email to students and faculty, Pastides said he would do all that he can to continue to make campus safe for students, faculty and staff. "When one member of our family is harmed, we are all harmed," wrote Pastides. "I am outraged that our campus has fallen victim to senseless crime"

The USC police force will grow by six officers this week with additional hires in the future, Pastides said.

In addition to speaking with leadership at the Columbia Police Department, Pastides said he plans to speak with Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin to step-up ongoing collaborations.

The university also plans to invest additional resources in technology and other tools that may deter crime, Pastides said. In addition, there will be expanded access to late night shuttles and escorts.

The changes come after three violent incidents on campus in less than a week. The most recent reported crime was a sexual assault and robbery in the 1400 block of Blossom Street near the East Quad very early Tuesday morning.

University officials were notified of that incident Tuesday afternoon.

University spokesperson Wes Hickman says they released information on the case as soon as they could.

"I can understand their concerns," said Hickman. "Certainly the important thing with a crime like this is when we send out that alert. We need that alert to be accurate and correct and have as much information in their possible to be included."

On Wednesday and Friday, armed robberies were reported on Sumter Street and Pickens Street.

"As we continue to actively pursue all avenues to protect our students, faculty, staff and visitors, I ask each of you to be alert," concluded Pastides. "Together we must stand up for Carolina."

It's that togetherness and camaraderie that student body president Kenny Tracy hopes will spring forth after these recent incidents.

"It's just a matter of getting law enforcement and students on the same page where we both feel the appropriate message is getting out at the appropriate time," said Tracy.

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