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Jogging safety is the topic of this installment in the Racine County Eye’s “Snapshots of Safety” series.

I was talking to a friend a couple of days ago and she was concerned about going running in the park and even around the block. She was concerned because not too long ago, a group of men not only were leering at her but got into their car and started to follow her as she followed her route. She was just around the corner from her home and quickly made it to her front door. The vehicle, after a quick stop, continued on its way.

Here are a few pointers and what you can do to be safe when you are exercising, or even just walking around, in the neighborhood. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but a conversation starter.

1. Make a predetermined emergency plan

Jogging safety isn’t the only place where such an emergency plan will be valuable. In this plan should be your name, address, DOB (date of birth), your physical measurements, hair color, and a fingerprint and/or a DNA (hair or saliva) sample so that the police have positive and correct information if they need to investigate a possible crime.

2. Make sure others know where you are

When you are going to leave the house, let your family or friends know what your intention is and how long you intend to be gone. Having others you know, and trust, is very valuable in case something would possibly happen to you. Don’t be deceived, there are people everywhere with evil intent.

Jogging safety: make sure they know the following

  • Where you are going
  • What your route will be
  • How long you intend to be away

Let a friend on your route know that someday you may need to stop at their home if something unusual is going on. If something does happen the police can know where to specifically search and find information from surveillance systems like doorbell cameras.

If they don’t hear back from you around the intended time you should have been back, they can initiate the predetermined emergency plan. The police can be notified, and a search could be immediately initiated. The sooner, the better, if something were to go wrong.

3. A few things to consider having with you

Pepper spray/pepper gel
Jogging safety can come right down to proximity. The difference is that the spray dissipates in an area. The gel goes right to where you are pointing and sticks to what it hits. In most cases it is quickly disabling.

A flashlight
When equipped with a strobe and high lumen with a beveled head, it could enable you to temporarily blind an attacker and the bevel on the flashlight acts like a DNA catcher if they are close enough for you to strike them.

Knife, tactical pen or keys
You don’t need a permit to have pepper spray, flashlights, knives and or a tactical pen. Your keys can also serve you as a weapon if needed for jogging safety. However, you do need a permit for a firearm, taser, and or Billy club style weapon. In Wisconsin, a Concealed Carry License is your permit to have these items in your possession.

A fanny pack or other such item, with personal identification
They may have received an “uncool” reputation, but a fanny pack (or something similar) allows you a secure place for, and access to, your items easily. For ultimate jogging safety, try not to carry a purse with you.

4. Technology tips for jogging safety

Don’t close yourself off from the real world
When you are out and about it is nice to listen to some relaxing or inspirational music. Or just maybe hanging out on your social media. If you are going to wear earbuds, opt for wearing just one. You want to be able to hear what is going on around you. You want to be able to hear people coming up to you or traffic that is surrounding you. Remember to keep your head on a swivel and run or walk with intent!

Track yourself
Many phones have a tracking feature on them as well. Turn it on so that your designated friends can see where you are at if needed, in real time.

Remember, you are the one that must take the necessary steps to keep yourself and your family safe. These are just a few of suggestions that will help you stay safe.

Henry Perez brings you Snapshots of Safety with the Racine County Eye. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux

Henry Perez is a retired police administrator, an A.L.I.C.E. Instructor and a firearms instructor.

Racine County Eye Snapshot series


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