Norfolk Police and ODU work together to ramp up security as students return to campus

Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-22 19:30:25-04

Norfolk, Va. - Students and their parents at Old Dominion University spent the day lifting heavy carts packed with dorm room necessities, ready for the fall semester to begin.

“Today we are moving our baby girl into Gresham Hall. She's a freshman this year and it's going to be a little teary eyed,” says ODU mother Maurice Kersey

Kersey admits she's nervous about her daughter’s safety as this is the first time she's ever been on her own. But her nerves got worse when NewsChannel 3 was the first to tell her police are looking for a man they say has been sexually assaulting women just about a mile from campus.

Police says he's also attacked women in the Ghent area.

“Wow we got somebody on the loose. We don't know where he is but it worries me a lot,” Kersey says.

ODU has confirmed that they are aware of the attacker and say they are spreading the word and working with Norfolk Police to be vigilant.

It's just one of the ways the two agencies are working together this summer.

Chief Rhonda Harris says the focus this year needed to be on off campus safety

“We did seem to have a gap between the safety on campus and the surrounding neighborhoods so we've really tried to find ways to enhance and work better and assist the City of Norfolk out there,” Harris says.

Both ODU and Norfolk Police worked to get violent criminals with outstanding warrants who live near campus off the streets.

They also did a survey to see how the surrounding neighborhoods could be better lit.

Another new safety measure this year is the 1,000 + cameras that are placed around campus. Several of them are pointing off campus as well.

It still might not be enough for this worried mother today as she's leaving her daughter while a sexual attacker is still on the loose, but she appreciates police making a stronger effort than ever this year.

“They are being proactive. I need them to be. It's better to be proactive than reactive,” Kersey says.

Norfolk Police and ODU will both be increasing their patrols as students move in and classes begin on Monday.

They both are also keeping an eye out for that attacker. If you have any information, Take Action against Crime and call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.