Forum held in wake of Center City rape

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The rape of a young University of Pennsylvania Hospital doctor is raising the awareness and urgency of public safety to the Center City community. (WPVI)

Preparation and prevention - that was part of the message during a public safety meeting in Center City on Wednesday night.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson organized the forum after a 26-year-old young doctor was raped in her Center City home over the weekend.

"It kind of makes you recognize, you always need to be aware, especially as a woman here in the city," said Councilman Johnson.

Vicky Schreiber lives one block from where the alleged assault happened. She says the town hall meeting was helpful.

"It kind of gave me a since of calm knowing that other people are aware of what's going in the neighborhood," said Schreiber.

The meeting was full of information on how to organize an active neighborhood watch and tips on how to protect yourself.

"One of the recommendations was to look people in the eye, I do focus my eyes down," said Zelda Litt.

The goal was to empower residents with knowledge so they can be proactive and take back their community.

A big interest - the self-defense classes.

Tyema Sanchez is working to make Philadelphia safer through an organization called 'Handbags 4 Peace.' They are offering free self-defense sessions around the city

"We train ourselves on how to stay fit because we want to look good. Now we need to train ourselves to protect ourselves so we can save ourselves," said Sanchez.

Philadelphia police also attended the meeting, reminding residents not to get lax but to remain vigilant even during the summer months.

Meanwhile as for the rape suspect - 28-year-old Milton Mateo Garcia - remains in jail. His preliminary hearing is slated for July.
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