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Saint John police increase patrols around Rockwood Park after sexual assault


Saint John Police say patrols around Rockwood Park have increased, following a sexual assault report earlier this week.

Police say a 50-year-old woman was walking on a trail near Lily Lake on Tuesday just before 3 p.m. when she passed an unknown man. Police say the women heard footsteps approaching from behind her when the man grabbed her and took her to the ground.

The woman was able to escape the man and call police. Officers searched the area, but did not find the man. Police say the woman didn’t suffer serious physical injuries.

Police describe the suspect as white, pale, skinny, approximately 30-years-old, with brown eyes, brown hair, stubble, and no teeth. The police description says the suspect was wearing a t-shirt and dirty sweatpants.

Saint John Police Staff Sgt. Matthew Weir says police have upped their presence in the park this week, through “a combination of both foot patrols and vehicle passing through the area” during different times of the day.

Tracy Doyle visits Rockwood Park frequently, and says the sexual assault report has made her nervous.

“I should be able to feel safe in my own city and (our) public parks,” says Doyle. “I’m the same age of the woman who was attacked so it really scares me, and I think about the younger women who are going through here as well.”

Doyle would like to see more police in Rockwood Park, more often.

“Make yourself known,” says Doyle. “If (police) are limited in resources, they do have a program called the axillary police program. They could easily use those volunteers and have them out walking to make a presence known, that they’re not going to stand for it.”

Doyle says women in the area should also have better opportunities to learn how to protect themselves, with accessible self-defence training.

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