Safety concerns at EMU following recent rapes and murders

Safety concerns at EMU following recent rapes and murders

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Eastern Michigan University flags flying on campus in Ypsilanti Eastern Michigan University flags flying on campus in Ypsilanti
(WJBK) -

EMU students and parents voice safety concerns following an upswing of crime on and near campus. Football player Demarius Reed was found shot to death on Friday in his off-campus apartment building. Police believe he may have been robbed and then murdered.

Then, within the next 48 hours, two separate incidents of sexual assault were reported by female students. Both incidents were reported to have taken place on campus in a dormitory. In both cases, the women say they knew their alleged attackers. EMU police say one of the suspects is a student at the university and has been arrested. The second suspect is a man from Ohio who was visiting a relative on campus.

"I come to campus at night when I have classes and it just made me scared about security, or if you walk to your car late at night you never know what could happen," Zainab Malik shares with Fox 2's Alexis Wiley.

"The safety of our students and our staff is of primary importance at Eastern Michigan University - it's of utmost importance," Geoff Larcom says. Larcom is executive director of media relations for the university. He says the university has beefed up security on campus and crime has gone down.

However, parents like Kim and Jim Turnquist say life off campus is very different.

Their 23-year-old daughter Julia Niswender was murdered in her Peninsular Place apartment less than one year ago and less than one mile away from Reed's apartment. In a bizarre coincidence Niswender's mother just interviewed Reed for a job.

"What parent wants to go through what my wife and I are going through?" Jim Turnquist asks.

"The community over there that houses these kids need to know that they need to help make sure that they're safe. I know they cannot stop everything from happening, I mean things happen. But, you know, obviously there are some issues going on over there and they need to be addressed," Kim Turnquist says.

But despite the recent tragedy several students still say they feel safe.

"I have night classes and I walk home. I mean, I'm aware of my surroundings but I feel safe," Torrie Veit, an EMU student, says.

"What I've seen is been more police officers that it was last year," student Nate Coleman shares.

Meanwhile Ypsilanti police continue the search for Niswender and Reed's killers. The university says its determined to keep its students safe.

"We plan on embarking on serious discussions with, in a collaborative effort, with other police agencies, with Ypsilanti city government, representatives of city government, residences around the area on how we can work collaboratively to improve security in the areas off campus," Larcom says.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Niswender's killer and a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of Reed's killer.

Anyone who has information regarding the crime should call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAK-UP (1-800-773-2587). All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous.

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