FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Crews are putting up new lights in hopes of keeping women safe after three separate attacks at Colorado State University. There’s been one sexual assault each month for the last three months.
Students say walking on campus at night is terrifying because there isn’t enough lighting to make them feel safe.
The most recent attack happened over the weekend in an area of campus that’s not well lit. Some students say that’s a problem, not just there, but all over the area, making campus a target for sexual assault.
CSU student Alex Burdell said walking on campus at night isn’t safe.
“I can’t even walk in the neighborhoods because it’s not well lit,” she said. “It’s dark everywhere, I wear my head lamp to walk my dogs.”
Three unsolved sexual assaults over the last few months have campus and city police searching for at least two suspects, including a man after a 22-year-old female victim said she was pulled from her car at railroad tracks near campus and sexually assaulted by a man with a knife.
“They’re individual cases, but then, of course, also they’re looking at what connections there may be among them,” CSU spokesman Mike Hooker said. “And so whether it’s one suspect or three suspects, or more that we’re looking at, that remains to be seen.”
On Oct. 24, just one block north of the Saturday’s attack, a woman was sexually assaulted by a man who also threatened her with a knife near the Jack Christensen Track, which is also the scene of a third attempted sexual assault on Sept. 13.
“Why these are targeted in this area? Part of the reason could be that there’s not a lot of traffic in these spots and it is dark,” Hooker said.
CSU officials have increased police patrols and are adding lights to areas around campus.
“One of the things that has been done is trimming some tree branches and bushes and that sort of thing to make for fewer places for someone to hide, for instance, and make for better visibility here,” Hooker said.
But for students like Burdell, whose daily routine depends on walking alone, adding a few lights is not enough.
“More lighting or having the lights that are supposed to be there actually work,” she said. “I walk by a lot of post lamps that just aren’t on and they’re just not lit.”
CSU has a safe walk program. Call (970) 491-1155 to get a safe escort around campus.
Anyone who has any information about any of the assaults, or recognized the man in the sketch is asked to call police.