Rapes in San Francisco Northern District involve acquaintances, not strangers

- San Francisco Police are cautioning people to beware when out and about this weekend. 

Police say rapes reported in the Northern District of the city- which includes the Marina, Polk Gulch, and Hayes Valley- are frequently between people who know each other, evidenced by the fact that the victims are able to name the suspect.

The Marina District is home to many young, single people and it offers many options for socializing. 

Police says so far this year, there have been 20 rapes reported in the area. It's on par with last year's total of 40 cases reported. 

The appear of Chestnut Street in the Marina is its vibrancy. 

It's a popular gathering place, day or night, with its many restaurants and bars.

The fact that rapes that occur in this area often involve people who know each other is not surprising to some. 

"It's the people you trust. They figure you trust them. They might try to loosen you up to get you to relax and come on to you," says Danielle Godfrey of San Francisco.

"What makes sexual violence so scary is the reality, the sobering reality any and everyone can be vulnerable at some point," says Sarai Crain, executive director of Bay Area Women Against Rape. 

She says more than 80% of the time, rapes happen between co-workers, acquaintances, people who meet online, and family members. Rarely is a stranger involved. 

"People always try to put out their best side. You never know what that person's intentions are," says Officer Grace Gatpandan with San Francisco Police, "Always go with a friend so you can have a way out or call the police if you feel threatened. We can show up and see what is exactly happening to you".

"You think you know somebody, but you never really do. So it's good to be cautious," says Lisa Johnson of Sausalito. She says when meeting someone she always has an exit strategy. "I'm always in control of my situation. i have the means and ways and support to get home."

Another tip: buy your own drink and keep an eye on it. Experts say when it's someone you know, your guard tends to come down. 

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