The Department of Public Safety notified students, faculty and staff Monday of a sexual battery incident on Trousdale Parkway that took place Saturday morning.
According to the alert, a non-USC female was walking on Trousdale when a group of approximately nine juvenile, non-USC males approached her from behind. As the group rode past the victim, “one of the juveniles slapped her with an open hand on her right buttocks.”
DPS has yet to locate the suspects.
“The group of juveniles continued riding southbound on Trousdale until they were out of sight,” the memo read.
DPS Assistant Chief David Carlisle said incidents where a victim is approached by a group of suspects usually happen more often in the neighborhood surrounding campus than on campus itself.
“It’s a rare occurrence,” Carlisle said. “This was a group of juveniles, who appeared to be under 18 years of age on bicycles. And one of them took advantage of someone walking on campus and struck them on the backside, and they all rode away quite quickly.”
Carlisle also said it was rare for a large group of individuals to commit this type of crime. In these incidents, the crime is usually committed by one individual in the area surrounding campus.
“It’s a difficult situation because we don’t know who the bicyclists were,” Carlisle said. “You can move quite quickly through our open campus during the day on bicycles. This does happen periodically, but not usually on campus …. It is usually just one individual, but in this case, it was a large group.”
Carlisle said DPS is required to notify the campus community when incidents like this occur and encourages the USC community to remain aware.
“It was a large group, and it is difficult to prevent because we are an open campus,” Carlisle said. “Just be aware of your surroundings. There is hard to do much more than that … We have had a couple of cases in the past where it was someone who was chronically doing it and most of the time we catch them because our officers have video surveillance.”
To increase on-campus safety and address bike theft, DPS has redeployed various resources such as additional officers and increased camera surveillance, according to Carlisle.
Carlisle said DPS will remain vigilant groups of non-USC individuals that ride throughout campus.
“Groups of young males riding on campus in groups is something that might cause us to detain them and ask what their purpose is,” Carlisle said. “While we encourage public access to our academic resources and libraries and theatres … groups of boys riding bikes might justifiably be a little more closely watched.”