TEMPE, Ariz. — A number of groping incidents on Arizona State University's Tempe campus are being reported in recent days as alarming new research shows that sexual assaults on college campuses peak as the fall semester starts.
Some students who have just started their fall semester told 12 News that they are taking precautions for their own safety.
"I don't walk with headphones in, I just kind of keep alert, be safe, be smart," junior Lauren Pantleo said.
She and Rebecca Bauer say they usually feel pretty safe on campus.
"Typically I scooter over here. Most of my classes are close campus itself is pretty safe but neighboring streets can get sketchy," she added.
"The 'red zone' refers to the first six weeks of school and that typically people are getting adjusted and usually it's incoming freshmen," Kristen Scharlau, Human Services manager for CARE7 Crisis Response Team, said.
Some freshmen, including Maria Benevento, say even though the campus is covered with safety tools, they still take personal safety into their own hands.
"I carry around my mace around me all the time," Benevento said. "It's on my keychain and I'm just always aware, aware of my surroundings. I always travel in groups or in pairs."
After recently moving here from California, Benevento said she was shocked to hear about the increase in sexual assaults during that target timeframe.
"(It was a) big surprise for me, normally I just think it happens all the time but I didn't know that there was a specific time it happened," she said.
Scharlau says victims should know help is here in the Valley and that they're not alone.
"We will help you heal but we need to make sure the person who did this to you can't do it to anyone else. So please report it, don't be afraid to report, we're going to help you," Scharlau said.
Victims of sexual assault can find more information here.