USC on high alert after 2 sexual attacks

LOS ANGELES USC students have been on high alert after two attacks against female students near the college campus. Word of those assaults is spreading quickly.

"It is always shocking. It is never fun to hear about that, especially when it is happening so close to you. I come from a small town so being in the big city is already sort of a shocker," said student, Kelsey McLane.

Police say that the first attack occurred early Friday morning at the Cardinal Gardens apartments, located directly across the street from the university.

USC's Department of Public Safety said a woman was attacked from behind at about 1:30 a.m. just outside the apartment complex. A male bystander saw what was going on and yelled at the suspect, who fled.

The second attack was at the Centennial apartments early Saturday morning, just a couple of blocks away. The victim said she was walking home alone from a party at about 3 a.m. when she was approached by three young men.

They offered to escort her back to her apartment. One man sexually assaulted her in her home and then fled, and the other two took off in her car, which was found a short time later.

Police are searching for suspects involved in both attacks, but suspect descriptions remain vague. Students are advised not to venture off alone in the dark.

USC's Department of Public Safety sent out a mass e-mail alert to students about Friday's attack.

"It does not matter what city you are in, walking alone in the middle of the night is not something that is advisable. Opportunity does exist with people out there looking for a victim," said Chief Carey Drayton, USC Campus Police.

Many female students say that they feel safe, but say that the incident should remind everyone to be cautious especially at night.

"You've just got to be smart. I don't walk alone either. I walk with mase on my keys. I think it is about being smart and don't walk around at 1:30 a.m. in this area by yourself," said student, Amber Smith.

According to the LAPD, violent crimes have gone down by 25 percent so far this year in the area surround USC.

Anyone with information about these attacks is urged to call the LAPD's Southwest station at (213) 485-2582.


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