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Ottawa police urge students to lock doors and windows

A man has been charged in connection with two break-ins in the Sandy Hill area Sept. 29.

Martin Dupuis, 34, has been charged with three counts of break and enter, one sexual assault, and other charges after being arrested Oct. 3.

Two break-ins occurred less than a block from each other in Sandy Hill. In both cases, a man entered a woman’s bedroom through an unlocked door at around 5 a.m.

“We have arrested the person that we believe is responsible for the crimes,” said Ottawa Police Sergeant James McGarry.

Preliminary reports indicated that nobody was hurt. However, Ottawa police are still urging residents to be diligent in protecting their homes.

“Our message has been pretty consistent, that students should keep their windows and doors locked both when they are at home and when they are not,” McGarry said.

McGarry also warned not to leave any valuable items within view from any doorway as the majority of break-ins are property-driven, not sexually-driven.

“I don’t think Sandy Hill has become less safe,” said Foot Patrol service coordinator Kate Wagner. “In fact, crime rates in Ottawa and Canada have been dropping over the past few years.  These sorts of incidents are rare and I think most students feel safe in Sandy Hill. I’m actually a Sandy Hill resident and I feel safe in my neighbourhood.”

Despite reassurances, some University of Ottawa students have been on alert.

“I pretty much thought it was extremely creepy and disgusting that this man was standing over top of the girls and touching one of them,” said U of O biology student Meghan Beale.

Beale lives in Sandy Hill and said she tries to remember license plates and faces in case something happens.

“That night after I watched the news story, I had a hard time falling asleep because I was thinking about it,” she said.

Police investigators said there are unresolved crimes in the Sandy Hill area that may be related to Martin Dupuis and encourage any student or Sandy Hill resident who may have been a victim to contact them.