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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill Police increases foot patrols

A recent Alert Carolina email relayed a message that there will permanently be joint Chapel Hill police and DPS foot patrols. It will be aligned with peak student social activity.

“Everyone in this community should always be concerned about our safety, both individually and collectively,” said Winston Crisp, the vice chancellor for student affairs.

Foot patrols will involve police officers walking around on foot to monitor activity and safety in the downtown district.

The aim is to expand officer visibility to help the town feel more secure as well as enhance awareness of the importance of safety measures around campus and the town.

“Personally, whenever I see the police walking around Franklin I feel half safe and half nervous that I’m doing something wrong,” sophomore Chris Sutton said.

Crisp said the University wants to create a safe environment.

“We are increasing patrols and other efforts in order to make sure we are doing all that is possible to make our community as safe as it can be,” Crisp said.

After events like the recent kidnapping attempt, the Chapel Hill police and DPS are increasing the forces Thursday through Saturday nights to patrol Franklin Street and the rest of downtown.

For people that end up walking alone, especially in the dark, the foot patrols should allow for a more peaceful walk to the next destination.

“I think that the University should be providing more easily available options for getting students home safe,” sophomore Marigny Kirschke-Schwartz said.

The joint patrols are not a new initiative as they have been going on for a couple of years now.

According to Chapel Hill Town Council member Ed Harrison, the vote to set up the relationship in 2004 was a split vote, and the dissenter was then-council member Mark Kleinschmidt.

Sophomore Ben Wiggins said he is confident in the patrols ability to protect students.

“Nothing has happened to me personally to take any further precautions than normal,” he said.

It isn’t costing the town or University anything extra, as the employees would already be working at the time of the patrols.

“Given the contiguous nature of the town and University, it is absolutely necessary for the CHPD and DPS to be aligned and working hand in hand to attend to safety issues that relate to both,” Crisp said.

A letter was sent to the community recently that lists a number of tips and resources that people can use to try and be as safe as possible.

“These (foot patrols) have been and will continue to be conducted for the foreseeable future,” said Lt. Joshua Mecimore, spokesperson for Chapel Hill police.

@savbritt

city@dailytarheel.com

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