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Jan-25-2014 01:16TweetFollow @OregonNews
Sexual Groper in Salem Strikes More Than Two Dozen TimesSalem-News.com
"Please report any and all suspicious activity to the police department," said public information officer Lt. Dave Okada, "and pass along these tips to your family, friends, and co-workers."
(SALEM) - Since late October, a string of incidents have occurred in the Salem area involving a suspect grabbing women in a sexual manner. So far, 14 incidents have been reported to area law enforcement and the Salem Police Department would like to remind residents of the personal actions they can take to keep themselves safe.
Officer Heather Day of the Crime Prevention Unit describes the incidents as opportunistic since they have occurred along busy streets and in public areas, "The subject's behavior demonstrates that he is looking for the right circumstances, such as surprising his victim from behind while they are otherwise distracted, and then he typically flees on foot." "Be prepared and alert," said Day, a 12-year law enforcement veteran. Drawing on her experience, she offered the following tips to help Salem residents be more aware of their surroundings and decrease their chances of being assaulted:
* 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 to 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.
"And, if you have been attacked, call 9-1-1 immediately," added Day, "so that police officers can respond to the area and have a greater chance of finding the suspect."
The department also asks for the community's help in locating the perpetrator(s). The attacks have similarities in the method in which they have taken place, and victims have been consistent in describing the suspect as a younger skinny male wearing a sweatshirt with a hood. "Please report any and all suspicious activity to the police department," said public information officer Lt. Dave Okada, "and pass along these tips to your family, friends, and co-workers."
A surveillance video clip is attached of an attack in a parking lot.
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