EDMONTON – The president of the Terwillegar Community League says he’s very concerned about the safety of his residents, after three recent assaults in the area.
“It really bothers me very much because one of the mandates of the community league is to have a safe place for the families,” Joe Ahmad said Thursday evening. “I am personally very concerned.”
He’s not the only one voicing his concern. Members of the community say they’re also keeping a closer eye on their surroundings after hearing of the assaults.
“You definitely have it in the back of the mind wherever you go,” said Terwillegar resident Jenna Thibert.
“That there’s three in this area is kind of scary,” added fellow resident Erin Taylor.
The heightened awareness comes after three similar assaults on women in the Terwillegar Towne neighbourhood. The incidents have happened over the past two months, the most recent of which happened Tuesday night.
Police are urging people to protect themselves by being more aware of their surroundings. Cst. Jerrid Maze with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) encourages people to walk in pairs or groups, particularly if they’re walking after dark.
“Stay in front of main lit areas. So walk home where there’s street lights, because it still does get dark around five, six o’clock at night in Edmonton,” Maze said.
“Stay in areas where you know there’s going to be lots of vehicular traffic and even residential traffic, that’s your best bet… If you’re going to walk home alone, don’t use alleyways.”
Jeff Greekas, head instructor at Edmonton Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, says protecting yourself from predators also involves being in the moment and recognizing the circumstances around you.
“You just have to keep your wits about yourself and know when those circumstances are changing – if it’s daytime, if it’s nighttime, if there’s people around, if there’s not people around,” Greekas explained.
“They’re looking for people that aren’t aware, people that are easy targets. If you’re able to identify someone or look at them or make eye contact long before they’re able to sneak up on you, the better off.”
“You can’t avoid everything, but you can become aware.”
Meanwhile, Ahmad says he’d like to see an increased police presence in the neighbourhood, but will do his job to ensure the community is aware of what is going on.
“Two or three eyes of police are not enough. It’s the members of that community that have to have the watchful eyes.”
Police are asking anyone who may have information about the assaults to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
With files from Ross Neitz, Global News.