Community alert after two sex attacks in Gold Coast

June 23, 2013 (CHICAGO)

One of the incidents happened early Sunday morning near Dearborn and Oak Street, the second happened on Monday June 17, just a block away in the 1100 block of North Clark Street.

In Sunday's attack, police say a 26-year-old woman was walking in the 1000 block of North Dearborn Street near Oak Street when a man approached her from behind, dragged her to an alley, and began to sexually assault her.

A nearby witness came to help and was able to scare off the attacker.

The suspect apparently approaches the victims on the street and pulls them into nearby alleys to assault them.

The attacks have alarmed many area residents. "During the day I walk alone I don't have pepper spray, it's scary to hear," said Deniz Civelek, an area resident.

Caitlin Maloney walks her dog Peppers in the area at all times of the day. She said the alleged assaults are unsettling. "It worries me. I've been out early in the morning 6 o'clock or earlier going to work or workout. I wouldn't imagine getting attacked and pulled into an alley like that around here," said Maloney.

Police say the latest victim was treated at the hospital and is expected to be OK.

It's a reminder to many that even though the area is surrounded by security cameras... anything can happen at any time. "Wherever you go no matter how rich the suburb is it can happen anywhere you never know how people think these days," said Maria Llamas.

"You would think it's a safe neighborhood and you wouldn't think being at 6am would be alarming to walk alone it's definitely terrifying," said Civelek.

Police advise neighbors to follow these guidelines in the wake of the attacks:

* Walk in pairs or groups
* Always be aware of your surroundings
* Report suspicious activity immediately
* If you are confronted by an assailant remain calm
* Remember any unique physical characteristics (scars, limp, acne, teeth, etc…)
* Never pursue a fleeing assailant, provide the information to the police
* If approached by a witness to the incident, request contact information
* Dial 9-1-1 immediately and remain on scene when possible

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