NEW ORLEANS- Walk down the 4800 block of Prytania Street most evenings and you'll see plenty of businesses, joggers, and neighbors walking their dogs.
“This is probably the safest place you could pick,” said Shelly Molaschi, who lives nearby.
But a crime in the area this week may have shaken that sense of security.
Neighbors say they’re shocked after a rape was reported around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
A police report shows an unknown man walked into a home in the 4800 block of Prytania Street and tried to rape the woman inside. She was able to resist, and the man ran off. Police said a description of the suspect was unavailable.
Now, neighbors like Molaschi are taking extra precautions.
“In the middle of day I walk with mace, just because everything's happening,” said Molaschi.
The alleged sexual assault on Prytania is one of 11 reported in the last 10 days in New Orleans. And experts say many more go unreported.
“The call volume has been higher,” said Pamela Albers, a counselor for sexual assault victims at the Family Justice Center.
Albers has spoken with five recent sexual assault victims this week, and to her knowledge, none of them have reported the crime to police.
“People are embarrassed, they're ashamed,” said Albers. “If you're the person who has been sexually assaulted, find some help, find somebody to talk to because it's an incredibly difficult thing to do alone.”
Albers said the crime often increases in the spring.
“Things can be more active so to speak for spring break, and all of that is just starting,” she said.
A rape was reported at the Marriott on Canal Street just before 6 a.m. Sunday. On Tuesday, Mar.11, a victim reported she had been sexually assaulted at the Cotton Exchange Hotel in the Central Business District on Monday, Mar. 3.
Another rape was reported Tuesday around 6:40 p.m. in the 1000 block of Orleans Avenue in the French Quarter. And Thursday night, police say a victim killed a man who was sexually assaulting a woman in the Bywater. Still, police don't believe the recent sexual assaults are part of a trend or spike, or that they are related.
Those like Molaschi say, they're more aware of their surroundings, and they'll do as much as they can to stay safe.
If you have any information that could help police, call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. If you have been a victim of rape, call the New Orleans Rape Crisis Center at 1(888) 411-1333.