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Latest attack prompts West End safety meeting in Portland community

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:20 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - Roughly 50 residents of Portland’s West End neighborhood gathered outside the Reiche Community School Wednesday evening to discuss safety.

The West End Neighborhood Association organized the meeting after, police say, a woman was assaulted while walking home on Brackett Street Tuesday night.

According to police, a man hit her in the head with a blunt object then ran away.

The victim was taken to a hospital.

An officer from the Portland Police Department was on hand to discuss safety strategies and self-defense skills.

“People become anxious, they become involved and then it slides away and it can’t slide away. You have to stay with it,” said Rosanne Graef of the West End Neighborhood Association.

Leana Good-Simpson and Graef are trying to turn anxiety into action.

“We need to be a community, watch out for each other and take care of each other like it used to be,” Good-Simpson said.

This is the third time in less than a year a woman has reported being physically attacked by a man in the West End.

“I am extremely concerned about how this has been progressing. Certainly, we don’t want to alarm people but we want to make sure people stay vigilant,” said Portland City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau.

Organizers say they’re encouraged by the rapid community engagement but are reminding residents to stay alert, vigilant and involved.

“It is frustrating to feel that your neighborhood is not as safe as you may have thought it was but it’s reality,” Graef said.

Portland police said no arrests have been made in the most recent attack or the reported physical assaults in October and May.

All three remain open investigations.

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