If you are a person who enjoys running, jogging or walking you can be susceptible to criminal attack. One of the problems with these activities is that you can become so preoccupied in your physical activity that you fail to be alert and pay attention to your surroundings.
Sometimes you may become too busy concentrating how much further you have to go and on putting one foot in front of the next that you don’t realize what is happening around you. The following are a series of personal safety tips for walkers, joggers and runners:
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS AT ALL TIMES
- Walk /jog confidently
- Tell someone (friends or family) where you will be running and when you should be back.
- Look people in the eye as you pass them. This lets others know you are aware of their presence.
- Run, jog or walk with a known companion. (Safety in numbers!).
- Run, jog or walk in a familiar area.
- Vary the route you take. Do not take the same route every day.
- Do not run, jog or walk in a heavily wooded, poorly lighted or secluded area.
- Particularly if running, jogging or walking alone, don’t wear MP3 or CD player earphones. Being able to hear your surroundings (traffic, people) will allow you to notice someone you don’t see.
- Do not run, jog or walk after dark.
- Walk or jog facing traffic.
- Do not run, jog or walk near bushes, which can provide concealment.
- Wear bright colored clothing to improve your visibility, and shoes and clothes that allow freedom of movement.
- Carry a cell phone or enough change for a phone call in case of emergency.
- Carry a whistle or high decibel battery powered personal alarm device when you run, jog or walk.
- If followed, go to the nearest residence, open business or group of people.
- Carry your motor vehicle and/or home key with you.
- Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.
But, if an attack occurs, here are some tips….
- React quickly. Defend yourself as soon as you’re touched; don’t wait until your attacker has a good grip on you.
- Use all your strength to repel the attack. This is not the time to give a half-hearted shove or a light punch. Give it all you’ve got, because you might not get another opportunity to get it right.
- Stop as soon as the attacker is no longer a threat. You are within your legal rights to do whatever injury you must to save yourself,
- Get to a safe place. If safety is only a few steps away or if you can run fast, you don’t need to do much injury to your attacker to get away. Make your escape as soon as you can, but make sure you can reach it before your attacker recovers and gives chase.
- Call the police ( 911 ). Give the dispatcher as much information as possible , what happened, description of the attacker, any injuries they may have, direction they went or were last seen by you. Tell them where you are and if you are injured.
The more information you give the police increases the chance of a catching the suspect ! So please, remain calm!
Leesburg Police Department
NON-Emergency – 703-771-4500
EMERGENCY – 911