Some students say they are changing their routines as police hunt for at least two sexual assault suspects at San Jose State University.
The spring semester is just beginning at San Jose State and campus police are already responding to reports of three sexual assaults. According to police, there could be multiple suspects.
Students have activated police call boxes to call for an escort 55 times since Thursday, according to campus officials. That number may go up as word spreads about three sexual assaults reported this weekend.
San Jose State sent students three email and text alerts after three sexual assaults were reported on campus, Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The victims were not hurt during the incidents, but some students on campus say they are on edge.
“Getting those alerts, three alerts that night, that kind of concerned me because I like to walk around,” junior Alyssa Asprer said.
Campus police said two women reported being groped by a man described as 20-30 years old, about 6-feet tall, with red hair and a moustache. The victims say he rode off on a bicycle riding toward the Campus Village apartments on South 9th Street.
On Saturday, The first reported incident took place before 7 p.m. near the Event Center, and then another happened just before 9:30 p.m. near Hoover Hall.
Another woman told police that two men on longboard skateboards approached her, just after midnight Sunday, and tried to touch her inappropriately.
“It’s very serious, especially since it’s my fist year here and I’m in the dorm and I walk around her all the time,” freshman Ellamay Bonjoc said.
Police are now focusing patrols on the main campus, and they are reminding students to do their part to stay safe too.
“We ask students to walk in groups, if possible, to always be aware of their surroundings and to use our escort service,” SJSU Police Captain Frank Belcastro said.
Student cadet Carli Skardontos drives one of the escort vehicles which students can call from any of the police call boxes on campus.
Skardontos said calls for rides are up.
“I think, because of the alerts, students are just starting to get more worried and cautious, and they want to be more safe,” Skardontos said.
The escorts are available 24/7 on campus. The university also has a shuttle that will drive students to their homes off-campus until 3 a.m. They’ll go as far as Interstate 280 and 16th street, Julian and First Street.
Belcastro said another woman called dispatch to report a sexual assault similar to the two on Saturday, allegedly committed by that red-headed man.
Police are working with witnesses to develop a sketch.