Boise State student concerned about lighting

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by Stephanie Zepelin

NWCN.com

Posted on December 2, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 6:12 PM

BOISE -- A week ago, a woman reported she was sexually assaulted while walking south of the Boise State campus near University Drive and Manitou Avenue.

"I was shocked, actually, because I had just discussed the issue of the lighting, the lack of lighting, down in those areas on Manitou and the neighboring streets," said Alexandra Szwec, a senior political science major.

Szwec found out about the assault through an email the university sent to students, faculty, and staff. The email asked students to call campus security with information about that assault, or any other possible crimes on or near campus. It also gave some safety tips.

But for Szwec, it did not address her concerns.

"It didn't address the situation at hand because it was saying how to be safe on campus and how to be safe in well-light areas," said Szwec.

University spokesperson Frank Zang forwarded us the email they sent to the University population. Zang directed our other questions to the Boise Police Department.

Lynn Hightower with the Boise Police Department said the investigation is ongoing, and could not tell us whether they have any suspects. Hightower said they have no plans to put up more lighting or conduct extra patrols in the area.

"I feel safe on campus. I know that they have the emergency blue light phones and that they have security on campus," said Szwec. "But when I leave campus and I walk across the street on Manitou and I can't see my car and I can't see who's coming five feet away, that scares me."

Szwec said a number of students take night classes.

"I've talked to several people and they all think it's a problem."

She said those who can't afford or choose not to buy a parking pass or park at meters are forced to look for parking on streets off campus, like Manitou. She wonders whether the victim could have given a better description of the attacker if there was better lighting in the area.

"It's time now to get lighting up in those areas before someone else gets hurt," said Szwec.

Szwec sent a letter to us to the university about her concerns. She has not received a response.

Boise Police describe the suspect in the alleged sexual assault as a light-skinned male in his early 20s with short dark hair and scruffy facial hair. If you have information, they ask that you call Crimestoppers.

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