U of M student assaulted near campus speaks out about attack

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The victim of an assault last week near the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus is speaking out as the university officials continue to confront concerns over crime in the area, KARE 11 reported.

"A lot of students are going out of their way to take precautions," said the woman, whose identity was concealed by KARE 11. "I'm going to be a lot more careful."

The woman said she walking alone with pepper spray in her hand to a bus stop on University Avenue near Williams Arena and TCF Bank Stadium when a car with two men slowed down near her.

One of the men got out of the car and asked her if she needed help, she said.

After saying no, the woman said he grabbed her, so she used the pepper spray on him. The man then allegedly pushed the victim to the ground and used the pepper spray on her.

After she began "screaming and just kept screaming," the men left the scene, the victim told KARE 11.

The assault comes after a number of high-profile crime incidents on or near campus in recent weeks.

Late last month, a female U of M student was walking near campus in the early morning hours when she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man posing as a police officer – an incident officials believe is tied into a similar sexual assault in Fridley.

The Star Tribune said police are working on a composite sketch of a suspect in the two assaults, and are trying to determine whether the same suspect is involved in the incident involving the woman on University Avenue.

U of M officials said crime statistics are down this year in comparison to recent years, the Minnesota Daily reported.

In spite of the numbers, students are still petitioning for a greater police presence on campus. To date, the MoveOn.org petition has nearly 3,500 signatures.

Responding to the recent crime incidents, the university has increased their hours for their chauffeur service, and stepped up patrols over the past two weekends with the help of Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies.

Meanwhile, U of M police sent out their 13th crime alert to students and staff Monday, stemming from an armed robbery attempt at a campus area bus stop over the holiday weekend.

The armed robbery attempt follows an incident last month where a female student was approached by a man in Anderson Hall on campus, who allegedly produced a hand gun and demanded her laptop computer. After the woman screamed, the person of interest fled with her empty backpack into the campus' tunnel system, police said.

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