After five women woke up to strangers in their bedrooms and with no suspect for the incidents in custody, Chapel Hill and University police are ramping up security measures off campus.
Officials said these extra steps are meant to supplement safety advice that should be practiced consistently, but they recognized the ease of neglecting these precautions in day-to-day life.
“Students and society at large are most attentive when something is happening and awakens us to realize,” said Dean of Students Jonathan Sauls. “When something is not public or current, folks might not pay as much attention.”
In less than a week, an unidentified male intruder has entered the unlocked residences of four groups of students living off campus.
The first two incidents occurred between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. Friday on the 300 blocks of both Church Street and Pritchard Avenue. The latest two incidents occurred between 6:30 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. Sunday at Mill Creek Condominiums, located at 700 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
All but the two students on Pritchard woke up to a man touching their leg. Although the descriptions for the man differ slightly from case to case, all women said he was black or dark-skinned.
“We’re working diligently to try to identify a suspect,” Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said. “These are obviously really bold events, and we share the same safety concerns as everyone else.”
Blue said police have increased surveillance efforts in the wake of the burglaries.
He said the police department is also working closely with UNC Department of Public Safety, which could help identify victims that may not have come forward.