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Lake Highlands Women Taking Self Defense Classes, Planning A Prayer Walk After Rapes

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Residents in Lake Highlands are taking more precautions after three women were raped in their own homes in the past month.

Dozens of women are now turning to self defense classes to feel safe. At Chamberlain Studios of Self Defense, the phone has been ringing off the hook with inquiries about self defense classes.

"Anytime there is an assault in a neighborhood or around the city we get a lot of calls and interest in martial arts," said Dr. Nick Chamberlain, owner and operator at Chamberlain Studios on Kidwell Street in Dallas.

Shannon Durst began taking classes more than a year ago, after a woman was raped and beaten near Henderson Ave.

"My one regret is that I didn't start this earlier in my life," she said.

Durst says the classes have made her feel safer and more confident.

The focus, Chamberlain says, is to teach women how NOT  to be easy targets.

"Hardening your home, hardening your lifestyle, making it more difficult to get into your house is much easier than fighting your way out after an attack takes place," he said.

Self defense techniques were discussed a public meeting Wednesday night.

Trident Response Group says more than 100 women have enrolled in a one time seminar they plan to have on Tuesday, March 26th.

Other residents are taking a different approach. While taking more precautions, they are praying about it.

"It is on everybody's hearts and minds and we're all praying for everybody, for the victims, for our neighborhood, for the capture," said Jessica Haas.

Haas is organizing a prayer walk on Sunday, March 24th, at 4 p.m. starting at the corner of Ferndale and Church Streets. Two other groups wiill be meeting at the same time in the Merriman area and at White Rock Elementary School.

After the attacks, concerned residents are trying to new things to help protect themselves.

"I went out and bought pepper spray for me and 9 of my closest friends," Haas said.

Some residents have also upgraded their alarm systems or are buying new ones.

Dallas police have stepped up patrols, but residents say they won't feel at ease until a suspect is caught.

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