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International students are frightened as police caution women to avoid walking alone at night in Copenhagen suburb
A rapist and murderer is at large in the Copenhagen suburb of Amager, where many international students live in dorms. The students are worried, and are confused about which precautions should be taken.
»I just heard about the rapist today and I am frightened to death,«says Anna (the University Post has changed her name on request), who lives in student-housing in the area, close to the rape locations in Amager.
Police have linked DNA evidence in the form of semen to one person. He is now considered to have been behind one murder and two rapes in Amager over the last 20 years. A rape 25 September this year has allowed police to make the connection to previous cases.
Police think there may be more victims.
»It would be naive to think that a man, who kills in 1990 and who commits rape in 2005 and 2010, has no further crimes on his conscience. Of course he has,« police superintendant Steffen Thaaning Steffensen said to Danish media Politiken.dk recently.
With a rapist in the neighbourhood, Anna, who is from Poland, is scared.
»I have lived in Amager for 2 years and loved it. This is the first time I am feeling uncomfortable here,« she says.
She adds that she has learnt to love the area around the Southern Campus for its peace and safety.
»I am going to warn all of my female friends and I will definitely avoid going out alone at night, will not talk to strangers and only go where people are in a crowd,« she says.
Like the many internationals in Amager, she does not know precisely what it is she should do. But she will now pay more attention to her surroundings, she says. »I usually wear my headphones when I walk around, but I won’t do that anymore,« she says.
Anna used to have pepper spray with her, but it was taken away from her at Copenhagen airport.
»I learnt that pepper spray is illegal in Denmark, but I now feel very insecure without it,« she says.
»There might be a situation, where I find myself walking alone in the dark and without the knowledge of self-defence I feel powerless«.
Young women from other countries may not be able to judge an alarming situation correctly, and feel therefore particularly vulnerable, say students that the University Post talked to.
»International students are always told how safe Copenhagen is – which is generally true. But at the moment you have to be very suspicious when you are out alone at night,« says Anna.
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