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UBC to spend $1 million on security upgrades, programs after 2013 sexual assaults

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DH Vancouver Staff Aug 13, 2014 4:09 pm

The University of British Columbia is implementing a number of safety upgrades and education programs at its Point Grey campus as students return to school in September for the new semester.

The incidents involved female victims and occurred at night on April 19, May 19, September 28, October 13, October 19, and October 27 of 2013. The individual responsible for the attacks is still at large.

School officials say $750,000 will be spent on lighting and landscaping enhancements encompassing upgrades to existing lighting systems, using higher luminosity bulbs, installation of additional light fixtures, and pruning of trees and vegetation along paths and around lights.

Another $250,000 is allocated for education programs, exploration of CCTV options, and the development of communication tools that include mobile phone application safety features that will facilitate access to services and programs. CCTV infrastructure will not be installed by September as the university will undertake a review of its effectiveness for safety and the privacy issues revolving around electronic surveillance.

Some changes will also be made to the AMS Safewalk program to improve its effectiveness, which will now include full implementation of late-night vehicle transportation.

Over the next month UBC will heighten safety information to the community through its student communications and orientation activities. Long-term actions include a range of educational and awareness-building activities, better collection, tracking and monitoring of safety data, and improved coordination of communications, police and victim support services.

“The campus is more like a suburb of 60,000 people than a contained area,” said Ben Goold, a UBC law professor who specializes in security and surveillance, and a member of the safety working group. “Long term, we must focus on actions that foster a truly engaged and connected community. That is ultimately the best deterrent.”

Meanwhile, RCMP are still looking for the suspect responsible for the incidents. The individual is described as:

  • Caucasian with a slightly darker or olive skin tone, possibly tanned
  • Mid- to late 20’s or even 30’s
  • Thin build
  • Range of 5’8 to 6’2
  • Longer rounder chin and face with straight nose
  • Broad forehead
  • Short, dark hair


Image: RCMP 

Featured Image: UBC Public Affairs

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DH Vancouver Staff
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