MAPLEWOOD — A woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted on Tuesday has prompted police to remind residents about being aware of strangers and keeping themselves safe.

The alleged assault happened on Tuesday morning when a woman said a man followed her home, forced his way into her house and assaulted her, Essex County Acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II said. After the assault, the woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment and released, Stephens said.

Police have not provided any information about the man other than to say he is still out there. Police have stepped up their presence since the alleged attack, with Chief Jim DeVaul encouraging residents to stay on alert.

"Residents should be aware of their surroundings especially if walking alone and not provide personal information to strangers," DeVaul said in a statement posted on the township's Facebook page. "Do not open your door to strangers, talk thru an open window if you have to."

DeVaul said if people believe they are being followed they should call 911 immediately. He also encouraged parents to talk to their children about safety and the importance of calling 911 in an emergency.

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