17:59 GMT18 January 2021
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    A German police department is under fire for advising women to be more cautious and run in pairs following a brutal rape in one of the parks in the city of Leipzig.

    On Friday morning, a woman in her 50s was attacked as she jogged through the popular Rosental Park in central Leipzig by a man described as being 25-35 years old, with dark hair, a short unkempt beard and a "southern" appearance. The attacker dragged the victim from a path and brutally raped her while also hitting the woman in the face so hard she had to undergo emergency surgery.

    The suspect remains at large. Authorities are also investigating whether the man is linked to two other sexual assaults that occurred in the same area recently.

    In response to the attack, a spokesperson for Leipzig police told the city's local newspaper "it would be better if women jogged in pairs, or at least that they make sure there is always someone else around."

    Additionally, he urged women to be more cautious and always look back when they run past someone to make sure they are not about to be attacked.

    Social media exploded with infuriated users criticizing police reaction to the incident. Many said they found it ridiculous that women were told to adapt to dangerous conditions rather than reassured they would be protected.

    Leipzig's Mayor Burkhard Jung hit out at police on Monday over their response to the crime, saying that "the state's answer to this terrible incident and to previous such incidents must be to put more police on the streets and in the parks."

    "We all want to live in a city in which it is self-evident that women can go jogging alone in the park, a city in which everyone is safe," he told German newspaper Bild. "We clearly need a more visible police force for that."

    Jung had warned prior to the incident that while his city has grown by 100,000 citizens over the last decade, the Leipzig police force has shrunk by at least 200 officers.


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