Tulsa Police Offer Safety Tips Against Serial Attacker
TULSA, Oklahoma - The recent sexual attacks have women all over Tulsa living in fear inside their own homes. There are some safety tips that can help bring peace of mind; the biggest, police say, is to be aware of our surroundings.
Detectives think the attacker is closely watching his victims, maybe even following them, to make sure they live alone.
A string of sexual assaults is so unnerving that it's changing the way some women live their lives. Elsa, a Tulsa resident, said it's a scary feeling, and because of that feeling she asked us not to use her real name.
"I walk my dog every day, but I have stopped walking my dog out of fear," she said.
Elsa fits the attacker's M.O. and lives less than half a mile from the apartment where two women, both over 50, were sexually assaulted this month.
Although her grandchildren are around a lot in the summer, Elsa is 52, divorced and lives alone. But since the attacks, she's dusted off a piece of jewelry she never thought she'd wear again to give the impression she's not single.
"Today, when we were out getting ready to go swimming, I actually put my old wedding band on just to have it on to show, wedding band," she said.
Elsa said she always has pepper spray close by when she's inside, something police recommend.
When you're outside, pepper spray could backfire and blow back on you if it's windy outside. So, police suggest carrying a whistle and/or putting keys between your fingers, in case you have to fight off an attacker.
Officers also said you should keep your windows and doors locked when you're home or away, don't leave your garage door open or cracked, shut your doors behind you, even when you let out or feed your pet as the attacker forced his way in to one of his victim's homes when she opened the back door to feed her cat.
Products like door jammers are hot sellers at Best Hardware on Brookside, according to Richard Womack.
"Keeps somebody from pushing in," he said. "You just place it up under the door at an angle and then it stops it."
Then there's the faithful security system of a barking dog; that's the system helping Elsa sleep easier.
Police also suggest if you have an alarm, make sure to turn it on when you're home and not just when you're away.
Police have set up a citywide task force to help capture the attacker.