Community Safety Meeting Held After Rittenhouse Sexual Assault - KMSP-TV

Community Safety Meeting Held After Rittenhouse Sexual Assault

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A community awareness meeting was held at the 10th Presbyterian Church in Center City on Wednesday night.

It was packed even though the man who police say sexually assaulted a woman last week in Rittenhouse is in custody.

Police say surveillance cameras captured 28-year Milton Garcia when he approached the woman and followed her to her Spruce Street apartment where he's accused of attacking her.

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and the Center City Residents Association brought together several organizations to talk about safety.

"I'm a young woman. I live in the city and I sometimes don't feel comfortable walking around by myself at night," said Abigail Simons. She and many women were interested in the self defense demonstration presented during the meeting. There are free classes offered around the city.

"At the end of the day that might be the only thing that will protect you from a predator," said Tyemah Sanchez

Richard Branton says it's not practical for him. "When you get my age it's hard to move your hips or your arms," he said. But he also says the meeting provided something useful for everyone.

"Even as simple as when you're walking down the street you should catch people's eyes. You shouldn't walk with your face down not being aware of your immediate environment," said Branton.

Victoria Bayle came with Branton to the meeting and said she's concerned about violent purse snatchings that have happened. "I have gone down to a small pocketbook because there's so much of that in the city," she said.

City officials are also looking for volunteers to start a more active town watch in Center City and they're looking to expand the city's SafeCam Program from businesses to residents. The city reimburses a percentage of the cost and can use your camera to help solve crimes.

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