Niner Choice program helps keep UNCC students off-campus safe

by: Liz Foster Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three shootings in the University area in just three days have some University of North Carolina at Charlotte students on edge.

"I'm concerned. I think I should feel safe having to walk to class," said Sierra Watson, a UNCC sophomore.

“Nobody wants their kid to die,” Araminta Brace, a UNCC freshman, said.

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UNC Charlotte's police department partners with CMPD for a program called "Niner Choice" to keep students at off-campus housing safe. They inspect apartment complexes for safety features -- like lighting and surveillance cameras.

"The apartment complexes that do participate, we see very little crime,” UNCC police Chief Jeffrey Baker said.

Channel 9 learned University House apartments, where a student was shot Saturday, is not part of the program. Student residents we talked to don't know why.

"With all the things going on around here with violence and things of that nature, it's something we really need to implement," said UNCC junior Julian Robinson.

Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster asked the manager at University House why the complex is not involved in the free, safety program.

She couldn't comment and instead, gave Foster the same statement Channel 9 received Tuesday.

It said in part, “While we had increased property patrols prior to this incident, we are in the process of moving to 24-hour patrols."

But some residents said that's not enough and wonder if the complex was in the Niner Choice program, the shooting Saturday may not have happened.

"Yeah, I think it's a high possibility it wouldn't have happened," Watson said.

Police said the shootings are not related and are not connected to the university. They also say they do not have any suspects identified in any of the three shootings.

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