By Matt McKinney

Two women reported rapes in separate late-night attacks in Minneapolis this week, both occurring in the Whittier neighborhood, police said Friday. Both attacks took place around 2 a.m. in public spaces while each woman was walking alone.

The first attack occurred Monday near the intersection of West Franklin Avenue and Lyndale Avenue South at 2:20 a.m. The woman was walking down an alley when the suspect approached her and tried to make small talk. He then threatened to kill her, showed a gun and dragged her to a grassy area and sexually assaulted her.

The second attack took place Wednesday in the 2800 block of Stevens Avenue South at 2:07 a.m. The woman was walking home through a park when she heard someone trying to get her attention. She ignored the man but was attacked and dragged to an area where she was sexually assaulted.

No further information was available. The victims were not able to give detailed descriptions of the suspects.

Police officials Friday issued a list of safety tips:

* Avoid walking alone at night, especially in dark or isolated areas. 

* Limit alcohol consumption while out.

* If you arrive as a group, leave as a group; don't leave someone behind.

* Ensure everyone can get home safely before splitting up.

* Trust your instincts; stay alert to your surroundings.

* Carry your house or car keys in your hand while outside.

* If you hear unexpected or suspicious activity outside, look to see if someone needs help or needs you to call 911 for them.