The Austin Police Department’s Sex Crimes Unit is currently investigating several incidents in North Austin where women are being attacked in the common area (parking lot, walkway corridor, and stairwell) of their apartment complexes.
APD addresses serial sex assaults /attempted assaults in NW Austin. We now stand at 6 since December.Posted by Noelle Newton on FOX 7 on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Austin police say a serial sexual predator is at work in the city, watching and waiting for women to be alone. The victim count is potentially as high as 12 and half of the assaults have occurred in Northwest Austin.
Police say this predator is coming up behind women, grabbing them, pushing them down and holding knives to their throats. The attacks began on December 27. The most recent was this Monday.
Take a look at the map in the video above. Five of these attacks occurred within the 183 North, Jollyville, Duval, and Balcones area. One was reported at 290 & 183.
The man is focusing on open areas in apartment complexes, stairwells, parking lots and most recently has gone into a housing community.
He is brazen, attacking women from 6 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. Victims range in age from 23-33.
One woman was raped. Others were able to scare the man away by screaming.
All attacks have occurred on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. But are we safe on the other days? Police say absolutely not.
According to Lt. Gena Curtis with the Austin Police Department, "These attacks are happening early in the morning to late at night in an apartment complex while you're taking things out of your car to carrying in groceries up the stairs, just trying to walk from your place of employment to your home."
"Our predator is out there in the community being a voyeur. He's watching for an opportunity", she said.
The suspect is described as either hispanic or white, 5'7" to 5'9" in height with short black hair. He wears a hoodie or long-sleeved shirt or jacket and either a face mask or bandana.
Police are confident what is happening up here is all the work of one person. But there is another series of attacks that have occurred involving joggers that this man may also be responsible for.
Basic Safety Tips:
Be aware of your surroundings.
- If you have your hands full, have a plan in case you are attacked.
- Limit distractions. Keep the volume down on your headphones or use just one earphone in order to hear and be alerted to approaching hazards.
- If attacked in an apartment complex remember other apartments are close by so yell in order for neighbors to hear you.
- Exercise with a friend. In case of an emergency, you can help each other out.
- If you have to exercise solo, let at least one friend or family member know your route, expected return time, and description of your clothing.
- Make sure your cell phone is fully charged.
- Walk in well-lit and populated areas if possible. If not, have a light source handy.
- Carry identification and include name, phone number, and medical information (allergies, medications, medical history) Consider listing an emergency contact number.
- Use discretion when acknowledging strangers.
- If you believe someone is following you, call 911 as you move to a safe place. Stay on the phone until police arrive.
- Report any suspicious persons to 911.
FOX 7's Noelle Newton is following this story. Follow Noelle on Facebook.