Parents and officials in Ra'anana have gone into a state of high alert after a wave of sexual molestation of girls aged eight to 18 in the past two weeks, reports local.co.il. At least five separate incidents have rocked the city, prompting the municipality to increase the number of security patrols and to issue brochures to parents warning them to be careful.
According to the report, in the past two weeks alone: a helmet-wearing man exposed himself to an 18-year-old girl in the stairwell of her building; a man fondled and kissed an eight-year-old girl who was walking home from school; a man accosted a group of elementary school girls and asked them if they watched pornographic movies; a man tried to force a junior high school girl into a car, although she managed to get away; and a man in a public playground asked passing girls for sexual satisfaction.
All the incidents were reported to police, who say they do not yet know if the molestations are the responsibility of one man or a series of attackers. The attacks have sent fear through the city, which was shocked earlier this year by the rape of a 12-year-old boy, and again last month when a man sexually harassed a group of elementary school girls.
The municipal parents' committee met with Mayor Nahum Hofree and security officials last week to discuss the attacks, and decided on a number of measures. A brochure has been distributed to parents through the schools, warning them to teach children not to respond to any request by a stranger, to end contact immediately, and to call the police. Special lessons on how to deal with strangers will also be given at the elementary schools.
In addition, the city increased the number of its security patrols to eight, operating 24 hours a day. Hofree also asked police for an increased presence in the city, saying the security patrols are "an excellent warning system," but do not have the authority police have to enforce the law. Police have agreed to operate an extra unit in the city, saying they will work in full cooperation with the municipality.
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