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USC Students Worried Alert System Too Slow

8:19 PM, Feb 20, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - USC President Harris Pastides wrote a letter to students Wednesday saying he's outraged about crimes on campus and will add six officers to the USC police force.

The letter comes after students took to social media expressing concern about Carolina Alerts taking sometimes 10 or 20 hours to get to students.

Carolina Alerts are a system designed to get important information about campus safety out to as many students and faculty as possible.

"My expectation is that Carolina is going to do it's best to alert students to crimes within an hour at the absolute latest," said sophomore Will Henry Lawrence.

"I would really like to know immediately" said sophomore McNeil Bellamy.  "The text messages we got last year were on time and that's the part I really felt safe with.  Now that they're so much later, it doesn't make me feel any safer."

Lawrence and Bellamy are joined by a number of students online expressing concern on social media outlets for the time between crime and alert.

"It would be ideal for them to alert the students before the police report is filed so we at least know an incident has occurred so we can avoid that area of campus," said sophomore Taylor Hilton.

Two weeks ago, police say an armed robbery happened close to campus. The Carolina Alert was sent to students 10 hours after police say the crime happened.

Then, in the early morning hours Tuesday, USC police say a woman was sexually assaulted and her phone and wallet were stolen.  The alert was sent to students some 20 hours after the crime.

"The investigation is still ongoing but it's important to balance the timeliness of an alert with an accurate and through account of what happened," said USC spokesman Wes Hickman.  "We need to give them the information they need to be of assistance in the investigation and protect themselves."

Hickman says campus police write and hit send on all alerts that go to students.

"It's really important so I can get out of the area and best protect myself and make sure the people I'm around area safe and I myself am safe," said sophomore James Smith.  "I need to know what happens where it happens as soon as possible."

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