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UNO students on alert after incidents at Elmwood Park

Posted: 10:09 PM, Apr 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-11 23:09:24-04
UNO students on alert after incidents at Elmwood Park

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — You can call it a wake up a call.

Campus staff are reinforcing guidelines that they've pushed for years after two incidents at Elmwood Park this week.

The first, a woman running said she was sexually assault around 6:30 Saturday evening, the other, an attempted kidnapping of a young woman around four p.m. on Wednesday.

"Travel together in groups, stay in well lit areas, don't park your cars in areas that you end up being alone late at night,” says Gerry Baggett, UNO Police.

Law enforcement has hunkered down in the park. Throughout the day Thursday you could see Omaha Police driving by, as well UNO Police walking around the park.

The school has opened up garages for free for students that typically park at Elmwood, just to keep everybody safe on campus.

"A lot of times when there's nothing that occurs you kind of let your guard down. We want to bring that guard back up and get them to be aware what's going on, make sure they're safe, as the school winds down for the year,” says Baggett.

The incidents come right as the school year is winding down.

"This time of year is a stressful one, students are getting ready for finals and of course this news is unsettling,” says Kathy Pettid, dean of students at UNO.

While the crimes at Elmwood Park certainly have grabbed students attention, it's not the most common form of sexual assault.

Jessi Hitchens, who led an event on campus called Take Back the Night, says it's more likely for you to be assaulted by somebody you know.

"If you care about that person really in any capacity you don't want them to get in trouble and also the rape myths that are rampant in our society are often a reason people don't report as well,” says Hitchens.