Crime

Chapel Hill police seeking suspect in downtown sexual assault early Friday morning

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.
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Sexual violence is a social and public health problem in the U.S. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey says nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives.

Police asked for the public’s help Friday identifying a suspect wanted in a sexual assault reported around 3 a.m.

The reported assault took place in the parking deck of the Shortbread Lofts at 333 W. Rosemary St. in downtown Chapel Hill, according to a news release. Police have since stepped up patrols in the downtown area, Chapel Hill Police officials said Monday.

The suspect was described as a black male wearing dark clothing and about 5 feet 8 inches tall. Police did not provide additional descriptive details such as the suspect’s approximate age or weight.

Officers, including a police dog and its handler, canvassed the area to try to find the suspect, and the investigation is continuing.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said Monday he has been in close contact with UNC Police Chief David Perry since the sexual assault.

“We have increased our downtown foot patrols, and we are grateful for the additional officers that UNC Police has offered to supplement those patrols in our Central Business District,” Blue said in a news release. “This increased presence will continue for now. We have dedicated every resource we have to this case, and we will bring justice for the victim, the victim’s family, and the community.”

If you have information about the incident or can identify the suspect, please call the Chapel Hill Police Department between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 919-968-2760.

At any time of day you can call either 911 or Crime Stoppers at 919-942-7515. Calls to Crime Stoppers are confidential and anonymous, and the caller may be eligible for a cash reward up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrest.

Police officials also emphasized Monday that help is available for those affected by news of the assault or interested in personal safety recommendations. The department’s Community Services division also conducts free site security checks, they said.

More information is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 919-968-2760.

A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim's body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.

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