LUTZ, Fla. — Since Feb. 24, people who live in Northdale have been on edge. A woman was attacked in broad daylight while walking along the Northdale Lake Park Trail.
The unknown suspect attacked her from behind and threw her to the ground. He removed her shorts and ran off. The victim suffering cuts and bruises to her body.
“Scary, especially when you have kids in the neighborhood,” Nikki Garcia said.
Garcia attended the packed community meeting at the Northdale Golf and Tennis Club.
“Everybody is going to help each other,” Garcia said. "We just met each other yesterday. We were neighbors and this is actually kind of bringing the neighborhood more closer together than we have before.”
The patrols will go from dawn until dusk and target specific "zones." You aren’t allowed to bring a gun, only pepper spray, and of course a friend. The goal is for people to saturate the area, report anything suspicious, compile a list and send it to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
“We can hopefully make this area a little more comfortable because there are a lot of people walking around who aren’t,” Tim Smith said. “I’m either going to do bike, car patrol, or golf cart. It feels comforting that’s there’s more people than just us that know there is a problem that are interested in participating in fixing the problem.”
Members of the sheriff’s office attended the meeting and gave input on what people can do to protect themselves.
Everyone we talked to believe the attacker will strike again.
“We are just being aware,” Rebecca Spadola said. "The individual is going to lay low during the police active presence. So, we need to take things into our own responsibility and be vigilant.”
If you would like more information, e-mail James Salgado at firstname.lastname@example.org.