Sexual violence has SVU on alert

The Kensington Strangler’s abhorrent murders made headlines in November.

But the slayings off Kensington Avenue were far from the only sexual violence that affected young women in Philadelphia. In other cases currently being investigated, two women were raped late at night after exiting cabs near their homes in Fairmount and a 16-year-old girl was raped in the Northeast.

Police Capt. John Darby, head of the Special Victims Unit, says that his 71-man unit is not currently overburdened. He said, “We are doing more with less.”

But Darby cautioned that the police are not close to arresting a suspect in the Fairmount attacks.

“Sexual assaults can take a long time to solve. The person responsible for a series of rapes in 2003 in the Fairmount and Pennypack Park sections still has not been caught. While DNA is a powerful tool, it sometimes is contaminated by washing and the environment, etc.,” Darby said.

Janet Jones, an SVU victim assistance officer, stressed that victims should call police after any attack.

“We need to know what is happening in the neighborhoods,” Jones said. “A detail in their story may help us catch a perpetrator.”

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