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Calls for more security after series of rapes in Italy

ROME -- Officials are calling for increased police patrols and new laws to punish perpetrators after a spate of rapes around Italy.

After two new cases emerged Tuesday, Rome mayor Virginia Raggi declared it has been "a black September for Italy."

In Rome, a German woman reported being raped, robbed and bound in the swank Villa Borghese park overnight.

And in Catania, police on Tuesday arrested a man who allegedly raped a doctor to whom he had gone for medical help.

The attacks followed a case in Florence where two American students said two carabinieri officers raped them after offering them a ride home from a disco in their patrol car. And in August, a Polish tourist was raped and her partner beaten during a beach attack in Rimini.

The woman accused four Africans of the crime. The men, who were also accused of raping a Peruvian transsexual, is made up of two Moroccan brothers, 15 and 17, a 16-year-old Nigerian, and a Congolese who allegedly acted as their leader. He had come to Italy seeking asylum on humanitarian grounds, according to the Reuters News Agency.

The allegations fuelled rising sentiments in Italy that migrants are to blame for a disproportionate number of crimes committed in the country.

"Some 40 percent of rapes are being committed by foreigners who make up 8 percent of the population. You can't sweet this under a carpet," lawmaker Deborah Bergamini told Reuters News. "The influx of migrants is having major consequences."

Earlier in September, Matteo Salvini, of the far-right party Northern League, said on Twitter "There are too many of them. I will send quite a few home."

The Northern League has seen a jump in support since 2014, rising from 6 percent to over 15, rendering it the third largest party in the country. At the upcoming Italian election, they will ally with Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party and Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party.

On the election, pollster Renato Mannheimer told Reuters News that, "The economy is a much more important issue, but sadly I think it will take a back seat to immigration."

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