ASTORIA – Lourdes Vintimilla was already mugged once in her neighborhood. She had been walking home from work at about 12:30 a.m., when a man grabbed her, put a knife to her throat and demanded money. She gave him whatever she had and he ran away.
That incident took place in the ’90s, but the current uptick in crime in Astoria, where rapes are up 60 percent so far this year, led Vintimilla to decide that she needs to know how to better defend herself. “You have to be prepared,” said Vintimilla, 46, a secretary at a chiropractic office.