Caryl Espinoza

On Sept. 26. 2019, Raleigh police officers responded to a kidnapping call originating at the 2800 block of Brigadoon Drive on Avent Ferry Road. A 34-year-old woman was forcibly abducted and raped inside the perpetrator’s vehicle. The perpetrator drove off with the victim when police arrived at the scene, but they were stopped by the time the perpetrator hit 2522 Avent Ferry Road.

Brigadoon Drive sits about a mile away from campus grounds. 2522 is even closer (0.6 miles), right between Colonial Arms Apartments and Centennial Park Townhomes. While briefly reported on local news outlets such as WRAL, WBTV and The News & Observer, NC State’s WolfAlert did not send out a notification. WolfAlert should have notified students about a crime of this severity and must strive to report severe crimes around the area.

According to NC State’s regulation 04.00.01, WolfAlert sends out a safety notice for crimes outside NC State’s campus for situations that either “require the awareness of campus for safety purposes” or “are determined to require the awareness of campus for notification reasons.” Felonies as severe as the multi-layered crime event on Avent Ferry Road should not be treated so lightly as to neglect a notification; they can easily fall under both requirements for a safety notice.

Students deserve to know if something dangerous is going on in their neighborhood, and severe, violent crimes such as the one described above definitely fit the bill. A crime that is a combination of kidnapping, sexual assault and police evasion is something students are entitled to know about, especially those in nearby apartments or in residence halls such as the Avent Ferry complex.

Even if a crime was not on campus grounds or during busy student activity hours (for example, the stated crime occurred between 2-4 a.m.), the severity of the crime should merit campus awareness for notification reasons. The student body is constantly interacting with its surrounding environment and is quite often out and about at odd hours; we deserve to be made aware of serious crimes by university notifications systems. 

There is a lack of transparency on why some crimes, as violent as they might be, are not sent out. What exactly factors into these decisions? Timing? Distance? Severity? Reg 04.00.01 never specifies the exact logistics of the whys. This leaves the student body with a very limited perspective, and it does not help university reputation when one can easily assume the worst reasons for why something goes unreported.

Knowledge is critical to a community. Without knowledge, we run the risk of accepting false assumptions about our environment and reality. Without truly knowing what is going on behind the scenes, it is unknown whether this crime went unreported to save face or for some other reason. There is no explicit reason for the lack of transparency behind underreporting by keeping students in the dark, WolfAlert and NC State are doing a disservice to our community.