Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt and UNC Chancellor Carol Folt met on Monday to discuss public safety, a subject that’s on everybody’s mind after UNC Professor Feng Liu was murdered last week, while taking a lunchtime walk outside.
“It was an opportunity for us to speak to each other, and with a few staff members from the town and from the university about the ongoing relationship that we have, and the partnership that we have in helping keep our community safe,” said Kleinschmidt.
The Mayor told WCHL that, in addition to meeting with Folt and members of the university staff, he’s also heard from a lot of residents of the Westwood neighborhood where Professor Liu was robbed and beaten to death a week ago.
He said that one thing he heard, over and over again, was praise for the Chapel Hill Police Department’s outreach efforts in the neighborhood after the traumatic incident.
Kleinschmidt said that preserving safety anywhere in Orange County is a multi-agency effort.
“We’ve had a longstanding partnership with the university, Carrboro, Hillsborough, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to create the Community Safety Partnership, “ he said. “People might recognize that name because you see it on every law enforcement vehicle in Orange County.”
The Mayor added that town and university staff members at the Monday afternoon meeting in Folt’s office also expressed confidence in the Chapel Hill Police Department.
They also discussed things they could do to help the people of Chapel Hill feel safe in the wake of Professor Liu’s brutal killing last week.
“We did ask the staff to come up with some thoughts on what we can do that would help strengthen Neighborhood Watch,” said Kleinschmidt, “and how faculty and students could become effective members of Neighborhood Watch programs throughout the town.
“And we talked a little bit about how we could help empower citizens, faculty members and students – every member of our community – to help create a safe environment.”
Chapel Hill is a safe environment, said Kleinschmidt, which makes the aberrant, awful crime committed against Dr. Liu seem all the more shocking. He advises citizens to remain vigilant in keeping Chapel Hill safe.
He also offers this advice: Don’t give in to fear.