Attorney General Steve Six, along with the Lawrence and Riley County police departments are warning Kansans to be cautious during Spring Break, citing concerns that multiple rapes in the Lawrence and Manhattan area may be connected.
Law enforcement believes eight attacks in Manhattan and five attacks in Lawrence dating from 2001 to 2008 share significant similarities. There are similarities between the victims, time of attack and manner of attack.
“My office—along with the Riley County and Lawrence police departments—have been working together to both prevent crime and identify the suspect responsible for these crimes,” Six said. “We’re encouraging Kansans to take extra safety precautions and report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement immediately.”
In an effort to prevent crime, the Kansas Attorney General, the Riley County Police Department and the Lawrence Police Department are encouraging all residents to be vigilant in their efforts to exercise personal safety and report any unusual activity. When universities are not in session, apartments and other student housing areas are often targeted by criminals. For those who do not travel during the break, it is important they pay close attention to the activities surrounding their homes.
Law enforcement agencies are working to proactively identify criminal offenders and educate the public on how to avoid being victimized. Through coordination, law enforcement hopes to reduce the opportunity for criminal activity during this Spring Break.
To report crimes in progress call 911. For non-emergency assistance in Manhattan call (785) 537-2112 and in Lawrence call (785) 832-7509. Rewards may also be available through CrimeStoppers by calling (785) 539-7777 in Manhattan and (785) 843-TIPS in Lawrence.
PERSONAL SAFETY TIPS:
· Be aware of your surroundings.
· Never open door to strangers; require ID of service or repair people.
· Plan several escape routes from your home.
· Park in well-lit areas.
· If you come home and something looks wrong or different - do not enter, go to a safe place and call police.
· Keep money in a pocket instead of a purse or wallet.
· Portray a confident and self-reliant person, walk like you have a mission.
· Do not walk or jog alone at night.
· If someone makes you feel uncomfortable or the situation just does not seem right, trust your instincts and leave.
· Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
· If you are attacked or robbed, or you witness violence, be a good witness and contact the police immediately.
· Immediately report anyone seen watching people or acting suspicious.
RESIDENTIAL SAFETY TIPS:
· Keep doors and windows closed and locked.
· Install good quality locks on doors and windows. Deadbolt door locks are always best. Sliding glass patio doors are frequent points of entry for burglars. They should always be reinforced by wedging a stick or pole firmly in the lower track behind the door.
· Unplug your automatic overhead garage door opener when leaving for an extended period of time.
· Install peepholes in doors.
· Keep shrubbery trimmed so doors and windows are not obscured.
· Ask reliable neighbors to watch your residence when you are away. Keep newspapers, handbills, and mail picked-up while you are gone.
· Keep valuables well hidden especially checkbooks and extra checks. Record and safely store serial numbers from valuable items, such as electronics and firearms.
· Keep premises well lit at night.
· Never let strangers into your home, not even to use the phone.
· Never give information indicating when you will or will not be at home.
· Never let strangers know if you live alone.
· If you are gone overnight, use automatic timers on interior lights to give the appearance that the residence is occupied.