NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD has a new clue in a string of sex assaults that have been terrorizing women in Brooklyn. Investigators released a photo of a jacket they said was similar to what one the suspects may have been wearing.
Police increased patrols in Park Slope last week after another woman was sexually assaulted. It was the 11th incident linked to a sexual assault spree prompting a growing sense of fear and frustration.
As police search for the sexual predator or predators, women in the neighborhood are learning to fight back. They are not messing around at CrossFit 718 in Park Slope. The gym has started offering self-defense classes for free in response to the attacks.
“The price is nothing and what you learn like is priceless. So it’s amazing that they did that for us,” Nicole Neve told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu.
Tammyli Gonzalez is the gym director and came up with the idea. She wants all women to know how to escape an attack, no matter what the weapon. She told Hsu it was all about street smarts, even knowing where to walk on the sidewalk — away from buildings.
“A perpetrator can be hiding out in a dark alleyway and come out and grab you, because you’re not aware of yourself,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez also advises people to stay closer to the curb and a quick escape route. And, as hard as it is, she says nix those headphones, put away the smartphones and let any potential attacker know you’re not a target.
“If you’re coming out of the train station, look around you, see what’s going on — don’t just flutter-off into your own world,” she said.
So far, more than 200 women have taken the free classes.
Surveillance video captured the first attack on March 20th, which took place on 16th Street in Park Slope. The 24-year-old victim was grabbed from behind, but managed to escape.
Two weeks ago, the community sent a message with a take back the streets march. Cops say there are two and maybe three men behind the attempted rapes.
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