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USC students killed: Dangerous reputation overblown, student says

April 11, 2012 | 12:03 pm

USC students killed: Dangerous reputation overblown, student says

When Patricia Lee, a 19-year-old freshman from Dana Point, enrolled at USC, her parents bought her pepper spray. Her friends warned her: "You're going to get shot."

Though a nonfatal, off-campus shooting happened not far from Lee's dorm this fall, Lee thinks USC's reputation for being dangerous is overblown -- despite two graduate students from China being fatally shot early Wednesday not far from the campus southwest of downtown Los Angeles.

"I think it's just the location," Lee said. "Any college in a big city is going to have to deal with things like this."

Live chat at 1 p.m.: Talk to reporters on the shooting near USC

Still, Lee said she takes precautions when she leaves campus. No flashy clothes, jewelry or bags. Nothing that would draw undue attention to her.

"On campus, that's fine because nothing's going to happen to you," she said. "If you leave campus, even if it's to go across the street, maybe that's not a good idea."

Next year, Lee and three roommates are moving off-campus. They have already secured a two-bedroom apartment. It's across the street from USC -- literally -- and it's pricey: $1,100 a month for each roommate.

"You can rent a whole house for that in other places!" she said.

Lee justified the expense to her parents, in part, by telling them: "It's closer to campus, so it's safer."

As for Wednesday's shooting, Lee said, "It's sad that it happened, but I feel things like this happen in L.A."

But she hadn't yet told her parents about it. Or her sister, a high school junior, who's planning to visit the campus this week.


Female USC student, man fatally shot near campus

Man shot at USC apparently was calling for help, police say

Man, woman fatally shot near USC were students from China, police say

-- Ashley Powers at USC

Photo: Los Angeles Police Department investigators work at the scene of a shooting of two USC students in Los Angeles. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press