Multiple social media posts have alleged that students witnessed suspicious activity involving men stalking and approaching women at student housing complexes such as The Hills: Southview and The Hills: Northview. One such post drew a reply from Vice President of Student Affairs Tim Miller, urging students to call police if they witness suspicious activity. Harrisonburg Police Department didn’t confirm the reports.
JMU girls!! Men are sitting in cars outside apartment complexes and approaching/following women, mainly during the morning. They’ve been spotted at Northview, Southview, and some other places. Please always be aware of your surroundings!!— Rylie Smith (@Rylie__Smith) September 25, 2018
One since-deleted post was shared to the JMU Nation Facebook group page Tuesday and described a vivid account of suspicious activity at Southview Apartments. According to the post, a female was walking her dog and soon after noticed a hispanic man in his 50s who was sitting nearby. He allegedly ran behind the woman and made eye contact with her when she turned around. The user claims he then quickly picked up his phone and said, “I can’t she has a dog” before going back to his car and watching her until she entered her apartment.
The post claims the woman called the police, who informed her that similar incidents have happened at that complex alone. However, Pete Richie, the administrative lieutenant for HPD, stated that he has “no idea” about the claims of gang activity. He also stated that rumors are easily started over social media. Richie advises people to avoid travelling alone at night and stay alert.
“We’re responding to suspicious activity calls like we do every year, every time of the year, and as far as me being able to substantiate gangs related to human trafficking and things like that and JMU students having to fear for their lives out there, that’s just not true.”
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