Police investigating recent assaults on women walking alone
While officers work to track down a suspect, we are calling for additional situational awareness after an increasing number of reports of women being groped while walking alone.
Since the beginning of November 2020, there have been 15 reported incidents in downtown and north-central Calgary, including several in Mission, Thorncliffe, Huntington Hills, and Hillhurst. The most recent incident occurred Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, in Thorncliffe.
While walking alone the women were approached from behind by a man and grabbed in a sexual manner. In some of the incidents, the assailant appeared to look for opportunities in which the victims were distracted, either by a device, or during moments when their situational awareness was lowered, such as looking in a bag. The assaults have occurred both during the day and at night. The man quickly flees after the assault.
Investigators are working to determine if the incidents are connected to a single individual, or if there may be more than one person responsible. A description of the suspect(s) is not being released at this time as the reported descriptions of the suspect(s) have varied, though the method of the attacks are similar in nature.
In addition to increased awareness, we are asking any victims of such attacks to call 9-1-1 immediately at the time of the attack. Officers will be dispatched to the area to help locate the suspect in a timely manner. If a victim is unable to call 9-1-1 at the time of the attack, they are asked to call the non-emergency number 403-266-1234 as soon as possible to report the event.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, groping is classified as a sexual assault and upon conviction can be subject to jail time.
- Walk with others, or in well-populated areas.
- Stay in well-lit areas with clear visibility for others.
- Be aware of your surroundings – limit the use of devices that would prohibit your awareness.
- Limit the number of belongings that you are carrying in your arms to reduce your vulnerability.
- If you are attacked:
- Create noise to attract attention.
- Do not try to keep hold of your possessions or valuables.
- Pay attention to physical attributes of your attacker and what they are wearing.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately.