5 recent Oak Lawn attacks went unreported, say community leaders

- Community leaders in Oak Lawn say there have been at least five new attacks in the neighborhood in the last three weeks.

They say the attacks have gone unreported and they are worried the trend will lead to others letting their guard down.

Since the gay pride parade marched through the streets of Oak Lawn last September, there have been a string of attacks on people leaving area bars and restaurants at night.

Fifteen people have reported attacks. But, according to John Anderson who volunteers patrolling the neighborhood, several more attacks have gone unreported.

"People trust us and come to us. I've had two people who were attacked come to me personally and tell me what's happened to them," said Anderson.

Anderson calls the unreported attacks an epidemic issue in Oak Lawn. He started a petition on Change.org listing the five alleged unreported attacks in hopes that the community will wake up to the reality.

“Usually it's the dark side streets behind the bars between 1:00 am and 3:30 am,” said Anderson.

Anderson says in one case a transgender woman says she was beaten so bad she required stitches. In another case, he says, a man claimed he ran from three men with bats.

"The survivors aren't coming forward and making the reports," said Rafael McDonnell of the LGBT Resource Center. "Any incident not being reported is like it doesn't happen. You don't get the suspect information and it ends up being a lost opportunity," said McDonnell.

Since the attacks began last year, there have been several improvements made to the area in the form of better lighting, security cameras and increased police patrols, but McDonnell believes it’s going to be a community effort that will get the suspects caught.

"Bottom line is by not having them reported it's as if nothing happened when we know for a fact stuff is going on."

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