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Police Issue W&OD Trail Warning

by ARLnow.com March 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm 2,957 2 Comments

The Arlington County Police Department has issued a warning to women who use the W&OD trail. A man has exposed himself at least 11 times on the trail since mid-January, police said today.

The latest incident happened on Monday night around 6:30. A woman was on the trail near North Quincy Street when a man exposed himself, police said. The man is described as a white male wearing dark-colored clothing with a black ski mask over his face.

Police say women should avoid walking or running on the trail alone and should avoid wearing headphones.

Anyone who uses the W & OD Bike trail and observes any suspicious activity is asked to contact police. Police have significantly increased patrols on the bike paths. They also urge people who frequently spend time on bike trails and other secluded areas to be cautious and aware of their surroundings. Women should avoid walking or running alone, and they are encouraged not to use devices such as headphones that prevent hearing someone approach. Police recommend that bike trail users carry cell phones so that they can call police as soon as incidents occur. People should report anyone observed acting in a manner not consistent with other bike trail users, such as loitering in the wooded areas, as suspicious behavior.

Anyone with any information about this case is asked to contact Detective Comer at (703) 228-4243 or Detective Austin at (703) 228-4241.

  • MB

    Just wanted to highlight this statement – “Women should avoid walking or running alone,”

    I am so tired of this trope. It is an utterly unacceptable suggestion from any police department. And if the Arlington police department really thinks it’s a necessary one, there’s something very wrong. Arlington is a very safe community, by all measurable standards.

    Arlington – correctly – urges people to get out and walk and run and bike. Does it expect every one of its female citizens to be chaperoned while they do that? No? Then why are we getting wrong-headed advice like the above? I’ve spent more than a decade on Arlington’s trails, and in that time have passed thousands and thousands of women out by themselves. Were they being unsafe? If not, why would the ACPD suggest they were?

  • Get Over Yourself

    If you choose to see everything through sexist glasses, are you shocked when the world appears anti-woman?

    Are the thousands of women using the trails in Arlington “unsafe”? Of course not. Are they being less safe than if they ran with a buddy (even–gosh!–another woman) or a group? Of course. That’s just a fact of life: having a partner or support group provides a higher level of safety than being alone. (Also true for a man, by the way.)

    But wait, maybe it’s sexist that this advice is being directed only toward women. Or, maybe it’s because the flasher is only targeting WOMEN. It would be pretty stupid to direct advice to people he ISN’T targeting…or is that preferable just to make YOU feel better about gender equality?

    You, by the way, are probably one of those people who would be the first to complain that the police didn’t do enough when this idiot, or another predator, actually hurts someone on the trail.


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