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USC students slain: Campus officials respond to safety concerns

USC began posting responses on its website Thursday morning

In the wake of a shooting near USC that killed two graduate students, the university has begun answering security questions posed by the public, including many posted on The Times LA Now Live chats.

The school began posting responses on its website Thursday morning and said it would add new answers throughout the day.

Early Wednesday morning, Ming Qu and Ying Wu, two graduate students from China studying electrical engineering at USC, were shot and killed less than a mile from campus. The shooting renewed concerns about USC’s security policies and procedures.

With the nation’s largest group of international students, many asked if the school gave guidance to those students on finding housing in L.A.

“The USC Office of International Services provides a guide to off-campus housing near the USC campus,” officials said in a statement. “The guide notes that ‘Housing may be more affordable outside of the patrol areas but it is recommended for students to stay within these areas for safety reasons.’ The guide provides maps to DPS [Department of Public Safety] patrol areas.”

But officials were also quick to note that neighborhoods outside the patrol area were safe, and that crime had dropped in the area. Wednesday’s shooting occurred just blocks from the edge of the school police patrol area.

Others asked why USC has not provided more housing near campus to accommodate its thousands of students. University officials say they are expanding, and the school already guarantees on-campus housing for freshmen and sophomores.

“USC and private developers have added thousands of student beds in recent years, and the university plans to add 5,200 new student beds in its proposed redevelopment of University Village,” the school said.

Meanwhile Thursday, Los Angeles police detectives were reviewing video surveillance tapes hoping to find clues to the shootings.

Some witnesses heard the gunshots, but because it was raining at the time few people were on the street, said LAPD Det. Sal LaBarbera. Witnesses confirmed seeing a man running away at the time, LaBarbera added.

Detectives hope the video from stationary security cameras placed in the area by the LAPD might offer more clues, but it's unclear if it shows the suspect.

RELATED:

LAPD reviews videotapes in USC grad student slayings

USC students killed: 'I'm going to move as soon as possible'

Slaying of two graduate students stuns USC; LAPD seeks killer

-- Matt Stevens

twitter.com/mattstevenslat

Image: Screenshot of USC's news website.

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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