Dozens of marchers took to the streets of North Park Friday to take back their neighborhood after a series of violent assaults in the area over the summer.
“Take back the night the time is near, we won’t be controlled by fear,” residents chanted as they marched along the streets of the busy Uptown community.
With signs reading “No Means No” and “Stop the Violence,” more than four dozen men and women walked down University Avenue with one thought in mind.
“Women shouldn’t be afraid to go outside in their own neighborhoods,” Cecille Estelle told NBC 7. “We want safe streets. We don’t want to be told we can’t go outside alone."
Since June, there have been five violent assaults on women from North Park to City Heights, most of them sexual attacks.
Several of those assaults happened on Lincoln Avenue, another on Meade Avenue and another on 33rd Street. In most instances, victims were walking alone late at night when the unknown assailants approached from behind, knocking the women down while trying to force themselves onto them.
Community members have posted flyers of a suspect’s image on poles in the community, putting him and others on notice.
Estelle, for one, is hoping to reshape people’s thinking and empower residents.
“Instead of telling women to be on guard, create a culture where it’s not acceptable to assault anyone – then it won’t happen,” she said.
To drive that point home marchers held signs and illuminated letters spelling out “No More Rape” as they walked by the five assault sites.
A tribute to the victims while showing a united front, letting criminals know citizens are taking back North Park's streets.
“We’re just tired of the sex assaults as a whole and society doesn’t treat women appropriately," said rally participant Jeremy Gorman.
This is the second rally against violence in the area in the past month and a half.
While San Diego police say they have stepped up patrols and “flooded” the area with more officers, no arrests have been made.