UW-Madison police increase patrols following "severe" attack on campus

MADISON (WKOW) -- Students and police at University of Wisconsin-Madison are staying vigilant after two attacks on women both on and off campus within a week.

Early Saturday morning, Madison police say a woman was walking alone along N. Carroll St. wearing earbuds when a man came up behind her and grabbed her neck. She screamed and the man ran away.

Three days later, early Monday morning a woman leaving the College Library on UW-Madison's campus was attacked. UW-Madison police say a man grabbed her from behind, put her in a headlock and pulled her into a nearby parking lot. The student was able to fight off the attacker who ran off in a green car.

"I got an email and a text message," said UW-Madison freshman Margaret Shea, who received an alert on her phone and then got a call from her parents. "I wasn't too worried, but the fact that my parents were worried kind of increased mine."

Shea says she stays late some nights studying at the library.

"After [the attack] I was super cautious like not be on my phone, not have my headphones in, and pepper spray in hand," said Shea, who also admits to looking for stun guns online.

UW-Madison police spokesperson Marc Lovicott says the kind of attack that happened on Monday is extremely rare. According to UWPD, there have been nine "aggravated assault" cases on campus since 2015. 

"This is a severe case," said Lovicott. "We have increased police presence in that area and just, in general, we've increased our patrols."

Lovicott says since Monday's attack police have heard from a number of concerned parents.

"When we get something to this level and to this magnitude it becomes forefront and we're always working on large cases like this," Lovicott said.

As police continue their investigation, they say there are a number of ways students can make sure they stay safe while walking around campus late at night.

Some suggestions include using SAFEwalk, a free service at UW-Madison that provides safe escorts to students on campus. They ask that students avoid wearing earbuds, especially when walking at night. They also encourage students to download the UWPD's safety app, WiscGuardian, which turns someone's phone into a personal safety device. 

For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/36533567/2017/10/05/uw-madison-police-increase-patrols-following-severe-attack-on-campus

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