Police are warning women about a series of groping incidents in the Salem area. Crime Prevention Officer Heather Day says there have been 14 attacks reported since October. The latest happened January 12th. All of the incidents have happened in public places, such as parking lots, and along busy streets. The attacks are similar, in that the suspect approaches from behind, grabbing the women in a sexually-explicit manner, before running off. He is described as a young, skinny white man, dressed in a hoodie. Police want to catch the suspect, before his behavior escalates. Police are reminding women of steps they can take to lessen the chances of an attack. Police advise women to be prepared and alert to their surroundings: - When out and about, keep your head up and make eye contact with passersby. Walking with confidence can be a powerful deterrent to a would-be criminal. - Know the area where you walk and have an escape route planned, such as where you will run if you are attacked. - Make a commotion and yell for help. Never be embarrassed to cause a ruckus to get the attention of others for assistance. - You have a right to protect yourself from an attack. Don't be afraid to defend yourself. - Trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Leave the situation and call for help. - Be a good witness. Use all of your senses to gather information about the attacker. The more details you can provide to the police, the more likely it is we can apprehend the suspect. If you are attacked, call 9-1-1 immediately, so that police officers can respond to the area and have a greater chance of finding the suspect. - Report any suspicious activity to police. - If you are attacked, use all of your senses to remember everything you can about the suspect.
Posted Friday, January 24th 2014 @ 6am by Brad Ford