Area Assault Prompts Safety Reminders - Humboldt State Now

Area Assault Prompts Safety Reminders

In response to the sexual assault at the City of Arcata's Redwood Park on Friday, University Police (UPD) Chief Tom Dewey issued a campus safety reminder this week: "Always be alert and aware on and around campus."

“Use our on-campus safety escort service, enroll in Rape Aggression Defense classes, and use the buddy system,” Chief Dewey said, “but most importantly, be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.”

Dewey said the message was also intended to remind community members, regardless of gender, that all share a responsibility for community safety. “The burden should not just be on women to look out for themselves,” he said. “I’m not trying to lay blame on anyone; I’m just saying that we all share responsibility to look out for one another. Any of us must be ready to call the police when we see someone, or some activity, that appears to be suspicious. Some of our strongest criminal cases have developed because a citizen witness called in something that just didn’t seem right.”

For Chief Dewey and UPD, this recent case has prompted particular concern, in part by the continuing efforts to solve the on-campus stranger rape reported to have taken place on the west end of Laurel Drive on the evening of April 4, 2006. Despite interviews with dozens of potential passersby, UPD still has yet to find the eyewitness who can help investigators zero-in on the ski-mask-wearing suspect.

“Without solid witnesses, at this point we are relying on physical evidence,” Chief Dewey said. Unfortunately, criminalists at the Richmond crime lab handling the physical evidence from the April assault have yet to make a positive match to any known suspect, and to date have only been able to eliminate the names of several persons submitted by UPD investigators.

Likewise, Arcata PD investigators are still searching for a witness or tipster to point them in the direction of the suspect in the sexual assault that took place at about 2 p.m. Friday at a portable bathroom at the City of Arcata’s Redwood Park playground, about a 10-minute walk southeast of the campus boundary. For more information on this case, see http://studentaffairs.humboldt.edu/police/bulletins/2006-10-11.php

Investigators from both agencies are meeting regularly to share information, but thus far there is no conclusive evidence that both unsolved crimes were committed by the same person. “We are considering all the possibilities, but at this point we are working the cases as two separate and isolated incidents,” said Chief Dewey.

To help emphasize community awareness, HSUPD will be distributing a “Crime Alert” flyer similar to the type posted when a serious crime is reported on campus. The Crime Alert flyer includes a composite drawing of the suspect in the Arcata PD case – described as a Hispanic male in his late 20s, 5’8” tall with a thin build, and at the time was wearing a white baseball hat with a black bill, a white football jersey with the number 13 on the back, and baggy blue jeans.

Anyone with information about the recent case should call 822-2426, and anyone with information about the Humboldt State University case in April should call 826-5555.