North Bay police receive reports of men following women while walking
NORTH BAY -- Police in North Bay are advising the public they have received several reports of unknown men following women in the evening and early morning hours.
All three incidents occurred when the woman is alone, she sees him approach her from the direction she is headed, but when she is close to him, he changes direction and starts to follow her.
"The fact that this is still happening is very upsetting,” said Kylee Bakowski, Amelia Rising Sexual Violence Support Centre public education coordinator.
Three incidents have been reported to city police in the last few days. Bakowski said it's up to everyone to create a culture of respect.
"It's up to men and other people to intervene and be those active bystanders if they see something happening," she said.
In two of the incidents, descriptions were provided: the first incident involved a man around 50 years of age and he was wearing a blue jacket.
Early morning incidents
The other incident involved a man about 5-foot-10, wearing a blue face mask, all black clothing, and a black hoodie with a large white image on the back of the hoodie. The man was seen speaking with another unknown man described as an older male wearing all denim.
The incidents were described as taking place at or near Trout Lake Road and Fischer Street, at approximately 5 a.m., Percy Street and Cassells Street at approximately 6:30 p.m. and High Street at night.
“We don't know what the intentions are,” said North Bay Police Insp. Jeff Warner. “It may just be to scare people, which is still unacceptable."
In none of the cases were the women victims of physical, verbal or sexual assault and police officers do not believe there is an imminent threat to public safety. Police said the best thing to do is not engage with the follower but get away and call 911. If a nearby building is open, go inside.
"Women are doing these things and they are still being attacked and followed,” said Bakowski. “Women can walk in broad daylight with a friend and these things can still happen."
North Bay Police are investigating these reports and will be using the information to target crime prevention patrols.
Anyone with information that may help police with the investigation is asked to call the North Bay Police or the Near North Crime Stoppers.
Amelia Rising has a free, confidential 24-hour helpline, as well as a text and chat support via www.webelievesurvivors.ca to help victims of incidents like this.