NEWS

UBC students plan Take Back the Night march

10/30/2013 10:03 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
Some UBC students are planning a Take Back the Night march this evening so women can voice their concerns over the recent attacks on the Vancouver area campus.

The rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.PT at the Museum of Anthropology with an open mic. Both women and men are encouraged to attend. Meanwhile the president of the university Stephen Toope is expected to address the recent spate of sex attacks on campus later this morning.

RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen says the six attacks date back to April, with further incidents in May, September and three in October. All the women were assaulted while walking around the campus late into the evening or in the early-morning hours.

Thiessen says investigators suspect one person is behind all six attacks and they're using crime analysis tools to map the locations of the assaults and to help identify the man.

Police describe the attacker as a Caucasian male with an olive or tanned skin tone, in his mid 20s to early 30s, with dark hair, a thin build and about six feet tall.

Simon Fraser University criminologist Martin Andresen suspects the suspect is a former or a current student who knows the campus well.

Because there were two attacks in the spring and four in the fall, Andresen says that could point to an escalation in violence.            

Safety measures increased on campus

While he's still on the loose, UBC is ramping up safety measures, includes more security guards at buildings after dark, according to Louise Cowin, the vice president of students.

"We will also be taking a comprehensive look at campus safety including the possible use of closed circuit TV cameras."

The university's Alma Mater society is also stepping up its SafeWalk program to give students an escort home.

Matthew Duguay who has been driving students home at night as part of the program, says the SafeWalk program has been getting 50 to 60 calls a night.

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