Two tragic attacks on female runners on the East Coast have captured the attention of police, parents and reporters alike - all of whom are urging extreme caution. Local and national news outlets have contacted us wondering how runners can minimize safety risks.
Follow the safety tips below, and encourage your loved ones to do the same. It could save a life.
- Run in pairs
You’ve heard often enough that there’s safety in numbers – and it’s true. Whenever possible, use the buddy system for your run.
- Choose daylight hours
Researchers have discovered a strong correlation between light, or lack thereof, and crime rates. Stanford University recently found that murder and rape decreased by 43% and 56%, respectively, in that extra hour of sun you get each night during Daylight Savings Time. So, stick to daytime runs if possible, and stay close to streetlights as the sun starts going down.
- Plan your path with safety in mind
Use a police blotter to look up crime rates in your neighborhood. Also, run in busier areas with more witnesses to discourage potential attacks.
- Minimize noise from earbuds
The louder your music or audiobook is, the lower your chance of hearing an attacker approaching. It’s ideal that you don’t run with earbuds in at all, but if you do, limit noise to a lower level in one ear only.
- Scan the area and remain present
It’s easy to fall into ‘autopilot’ when running a familiar path, but make a point of continuously scanning the area and remaining present for the duration of your run.
- Carry a personal safety tool
No matter how many risk reduction strategies you take, there’s still a chance the worst could happen. Be prepared with an athletic pepper spray, pepper gel or personal alarm.
If you are located in one of the states where these attacks occurred, please know that pepper spray is legal to sell and carry. Here’s a list of state-by-state restrictions.
Please, stay safe!