Raleigh Police on Alert After Series of Sexual Assaults
Posted August 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH — A series of sexual assaults in Raleigh have women looking over their shoulders and police on alert. The recent attacks seem random, but that provides no comfort to victims. Now police say they may be about to paint a picture of a rapist.
Most rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, or who has been seen lurking in the area where he eventually commits the crime. Investigators say there are very few stranger attacks. Most rapists stalk their victims before they strike.
The most recent local attack occurred in a North Raleigh neighborhood. The victim was a 15-year-old girl.
When temperatures rise, so do the number of calls to sexual assault hotlines. Summer provides opportunities to rapists. More people are outside and more people leave windows open in their homes.
Sexual assault counselor Marie French says news of three recent assaults is prompting even more calls.
A boy was molested at Lake Wheeler Park over the past weekend. In two separate incidents, a woman and a teenager were attacker by men who crawled in their North Raleigh apartment windows Sunday and Monday mornings.
French says it is very disturbing to hear about three such attacks in just three days.
Dr. Michael Teague, criminal psychologist, helps Raleigh police profile criminals. He says most rapists like to attack when the victim is sleeping, wanting to use the element of surprise to avoid resistance.
Teague says the advice we often give children can also come into play in protecting oneself from a rapists attack: be wary of talking to strangers. Experts advise that you used common sense. Lock your home, lock your car, stay in well-lit areas and walk with friends when you can.
Police are not revealing specifics on the recent rapes. They say they appear to be random, but have not talked about suspect descriptions or methods. There have been no arrests.