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Suspect arrested in connection with attempted sexual assault near Lake Merritt

on April 21, 2011

Oakland police have arrested a suspect in connection with Tuesday’s attempted sexual assault, which took place a few blocks east of Lake Merritt. On Tuesday afternoon, a suspect described as an African American male who is approximately 6 feet tall followed a woman on her way home from the store through the gate of her residence near the 1400 block of 3rd Avenue. According to police, after ordering the woman to undress the man fled on foot.

Oakland Police Department spokesperson Cynthia Perkins said she cannot release any details about the arrested suspect at this time, because the OPD is investigating whether there is any connection between this attack and four other assaults that have occurred in the neighborhood since last September.

Perkins said the OPD is confident that they have arrested the person responsible for this most recent assault. “Our investigators did a great job,” she said.

Four other sexual assaults in the Lake Merritt area have been reported over the last seven months.  Three of them also included robberies. In all four previous assaults, the suspect was described as an African-American male, and in three cases was described as being approximately 6 feet tall.

All five incidents have occurred at apartment buildings near Lake Merritt, between Lakeshore Avenue and Park Boulevard from International Boulevard to I-580. Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council neighborhood service coordinators Hoang Banh and Sun-Kwong Sze have been including apartment building managers in safety plans being crafted as a response to the spate of assaults.

Banh said the two write and post neighborhood watch referrals for safety trainings and organize security inspections in local apartment buildings. Banh said that in May a new Lake Merritt area group of building managers called the Apartment Managers Network will begin meeting regularly to keep tabs on safety in apartment buildings.

Banh, Sun and other community organizers have also been working with block captains and other resident leaders around the Cleveland Cascade, a neighborhood enclave bounded by Lakeshore, Wesley Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard. In February, neighbors and OPD Problem Solving Officers provided safety tips during an event entitled “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” at which volunteers passed out whistles, safety brochures and other resources at locations throughout the neighborhood.

In early April, the Cleveland Cascade neighbors sponsored a “Feet on the Street” training designed to help neighbors be the “eyes and ears” of the OPD and help solve neighborhood problems. Banh said she is planning more events like this in the future.

Oakland North will continue to follow this story.

1 Comment

  1. […] The woman sustained minor injuries and was treated at a hospital. The OPD’s Special Victims Unit investigators have made a preliminary announcement that this incident is not related to other recent Oakland sexual assaults, including a home invasion in the Oakland hills area on May 27, four sexual assaults that took place in the general Lake Merritt area between September, 2010 and February, 2011, and a fifth attempted assault near Lake Merrit in April, which resulted in an arrest. […]

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