After an influx of violence near UNC Charlotte’s campus, some members of the community are criticizing the University for failing to issue safety alerts. In the past few weeks, police reports obtained by the Niner Times show hundreds of crimes including armed assaults, grand theft autos and sexual assaults, including the recent kidnapping and rape of a woman at 49 North Student Apartments. 

A reaction on Reddit to the recent kidnapping at 49 North read, “Why was this not announced? I’m just now hearing about it.” The user pointed out she had received six emails about a thunderstorm the night of the assault, but nothing about the crime itself. 

Another Reddit user responded to the original concern saying, “You’d think/hope this would be a more pressing concern.” While another person responded, “It’s okay, they notified us about the same thunderstorm six times so we are all good.”

UNC Charlotte’s Police Chief Jeffrey Baker, Emergency Management Director Chris Gonyar and Communications Director for Business Affairs Christy Jackson responded to the concerns saying they “do not issue safety alerts for off-campus incidents unless it is an immediate threat to the campus community.”

Chief Baker also explained that UNC Charlotte’s Police Department regularly listens to a mutual aid channel with Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) and responds to CMPD when called or learns otherwise of a serious crime off-campus. However, UNC Charlotte police lack the resources to monitor all off-campus crime because it is out of their primary jurisdiction.

The CMPD posts updates on social media regarding ongoing crimes but does not offer a service similar to NinerAlerts, which inform the community almost instantly about threats in the area. Gonyar and Baker reiterated that when there is an active or alleged threat to campus they notify the community without hesitation. Gonyar also explained that many safety alerts from the University are sent automatically when the National Weather Service issues a weather-related alert in the surrounding area.

However, UNC Charlotte issued a NinerNotice for an off-campus fatal shooting at University Village Apartments on May 1. Chief Baker described the incident as a unique circumstance due to the shooting a day before on UNC Charlotte’s main campus. Gonyar and Baker maintained that during normal circumstances they would not issue an alert unless a situation had an immediate threat to campus.

Jackson expressed how important it is for students to make sure that their contact information is up to date in the university official system so in the event of an active threat to campus they can receive updates. Visit this link for instructions on updating your information. Jackson also stressed that students should save the campus police number to their phones: 704-687-2200. Calls to 911 from campus are not routed to UNC Charlotte Police, but rather to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg dispatch.

Jackson and Baker recommended ALICE (Active-Shooter) training, explaining that it isn’t for just school shootings but rather all emergency circumstances. They explained that more information will be available to students closer to the start of school in the fall about additional training opportunities. Chief Baker also stressed the importance of LiveSafe, an app where students can live chat anonymously with UNC Charlotte police, and encouraged all students to begin using it.

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Jacob is the Assistant News Editor for the NinerTimes, as well as involved in the Student Government Association at UNC Charlotte.

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