British Columbia

Prince George RCMP call for 'extra vigilance' after 2 sexual assaults by strangers in one month

Prince George RCMP are urging people to be "extra vigilant" after two women in the city were sexually assaulted by strangers in a one month period.

Stranger-on-stranger assaults are rare, so 2 in a month is 'concerning,' police say

Prince George RCMP say the most recent assault involved a woman out for a walk in the evening. (Andrew Kurjata/CBC)

Prince George RCMP are urging people to be "extra vigilant" after two women in the city were sexually assaulted by strangers in a one month period.

Police don't believe the incidents are related, because the descriptions of the suspects were different. 

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper says RCMP are "cautioning the public. Stranger-on-stranger assaults are typically rare, so it is concerning to us that we have had two in the span of a month."

"We are asking everyone to be extra vigilant when they are in situations by themselves, and to trust their instincts if a situation does not feel right."

On April 26, RCMP say a woman walking in the evening near the Hart Highway was approached by a man seeking information.

He then moved behind the victim and assaulted her, according to police. He left the area on foot. 

A month earlier, on March 27, a woman holding an open house at an apartment complex in the city was assaulted by a stranger she was showing the unit to. 

When the woman yelled, the man left the area on foot, according to police.

Officers said the attack last month happened in the middle of the day in a busy area and urged vigilance when "dealing with strangers on a one-on-one basis."

After surveillance video of a suspect in the March assault was made public, Cooper says a man turned himself in to police and is co-operating with the investigation.

No charges have been laid. 

Cooper said she wants to "safeguard the public. If the situation seem to be a little bit off, trust your instincts and attempt to get out of there as quickly as possible."

Shannon Smith, executive director of the P.G. and District Elizabeth Fry Society, says the assaults are of "great concern."

She says the vast majority of sexual assaults in the country go unreported.

"Women face risks every day. We should feel free to walk where and when we wish without fear of being assaulted."

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