UNC officials ramp up security after crimes near campus

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officials assured parents, students, and faculty that safety measures would be increased following an attempted kidnapping near campus.

University officials sent an email out to the Carolina community outlining how extra security would be permanently implemented to make the campus and the town of Chapel Hill as safe as possible.

On the night of Nov. 6, a student was approached by a man with a gun near the intersection of Kenan Street and West Cameron Street. The victim said the suspect tried to force her into his car, but bystanders intervened and helped her escape uninjured.

Chapel Hill police later arrested Keith Robert Webster Jr. of Durham and charged him with second-degree kidnapping and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Keith Robert Webster Jr.

image courtesy Chapel Hill Police Department

"This incident was deeply alarming and unsettling to all of us," University officials said in an email to the Carolina community. "Your safety is our top priority. We are writing today to let you know about initiatives to make our campus and town as safe as possible, and to provide you with information for seeking assistance and resources."

Those new safety measures include:

  • CHPD and UNC Public Safety will be permanently increasing foot patrol in downtown Chapel Hill, Thursday-Sunday (aligned with peak student social activity).

  • UNC's "Nighttime Travel Safety Working Group," comprised of community and student leaders and led by Derek Kemp, associate vice chancellor for campus safety and risk management, will review campus safety. The group will make specific recommendations on how safety could be improved, regarding adequate lighting and nighttime transportation options.

  • UNC is developing a campus-wide system of Department of Public Safety-controlled cameras to deter crime and help with investigations.

  • University officials urged students and faculty to remain vigilant and cautious when walking in uncrowded areas at night.

    UNC also asked for feedback and ideas to promote safety on campus and in the town of Chapel Hill. Ideas and concerns can be shared by contacting Jeff McCracken, director and chief of police, Department of Public Safety at (919) 966-5730, or the Office of Student Affairs at (919) 966-4045.

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