(CBS) — There’s call for help from North Side residents after several women were attacked and raped. In all cases, suspects who attacked them had a weapon.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos reports.

Neighbors met Tuesday night with police and the local alderman to ask for more lights, more cameras and more manpower on the streets in the 44th Ward after the latest sexual assaults.

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The first rape happened just after midnight on Feb. 28 in the 1200 block of West Barry.

Two weeks later, another one, in the 3700 block of North Fremont.

The latest happened on Sunday in Lincoln Park just after midnight in the 1900 block of North Orchard.

“Rapes happened right behind our house. It’s scary, I own a business where I have a lot of women coming in and out at night,” said Lakeview resident Holly Vicars.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, neighbors even talked about planning free to low-cost self-defense classes.

“You should attack in a straight line towards the center of the body,” says Matthew Johnson, a self-defense instructor at the Ving Tsun Self-Defense Academy, who explained to Bigos what to do if an attacker comes directly at her.

“If I’m attacked from behind I would step from behind and expose the attacker’s groin,” he says, demonstrating how this technique allows him to strike the attacker in the groin area. He also says you can drill the attacker’s ribs with elbow strikes.

Experts say the most important thing you can do is be aware and alert. Don’t wear headphones, and try not to be on your phone when walking, as well.

“Any predator, they’re going to go for the target they think is the weakest,” says Johnson.

Police suggest keeping a whistle, a light you can flash or personal panic alarm. They say Tasers and pepper sprays can be taken and used against you. They don’t recommend them.

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