Content warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence and sexual, verbal and physical assault.
Crime rates are increasing exponentially in and around Chapel Hill. Verbal threats, sexual harassment and instances of physical assault are commonplace — and these acts of violence aren’t far from campus.
In what feels like the epicenter of student life, Franklin Street is becoming less and less of a safe space for students and residents alike.
Half of all gun deaths in Chapel Hill happen within a mile of campus. Five homicides have taken place this year in Chapel Hill and physical assault — including an incident of stabbing — has left many residents injured, while verbal assault and harassment wreak their own havoc, yet often go unreported.
Instances of sexual harassment on Franklin Street are a prevalent issue that can lead to even more serious consequences. Catcalling is an almost daily occurrence for female-presenting individuals, further deteriorating any sense of safety.
A severe lack of accountability — including more than one instance of sexual harassment and public indecency perpetrators quickly released after being arrested — has left students feeling unprotected, disappointed and disillusioned with the efforts of Chapel Hill police. Keith Gaskins, a man charged with indecent exposure in downtown Chapel Hill, was released within one day of arrest. Tucker Frey, charged with attempted kidnapping and assault, has been harassing women on Franklin Street and around UNC’s campus since August 2020.