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ACPD Releases Safety Tips for Joggers, Pedestrians

by ARLnow.com November 15, 2011 at 11:15 am 3,320 41 Comments

With the late autumn days getting darker earlier, the Arlington County Police Department is reminding residents to stay vigilant when walking or jogging in the county.

While some have expressed concern over recent attacks on female joggers, the police department insists that “there has not been an increase in crimes against pedestrians.” Nonetheless, ACPD is advising joggers and pedestrians to follow the following safety tips.

  • Run with others if possible
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Know what route you are traveling, especially if walking or running during the dark
  • Do not listen to music or talk on the phone while jogging, you cannot hear other people approach you.
  • Carry a cell phone with you. If you are assaulted, calling police immediately increases the chance the suspect will be apprehended.
  • Listen to your instincts. If a passerby makes you feel uncomfortable, walk or run to a well-lit area.

“If anyone has been the victim of an assault while walking or jogging, and has not reported it, please call the Police Department Non-Emergency line at (703) 558-2222,” the department said in a press release.

  • MB

    Also, dress to BE SEEN. That should have been #1, and I bet not doing that leads to more conflict/injuries on the trails than anything else.

    Reflective bands, lights, and bright colored clothing *really* helps.

    • TGEoA

      Love the ninjas who dress in black.

    • Wilbur

      Um Duh! Can someone please explain why Arl Police would write a fact sheet on Jogger and Pedestrian Safety, in the context of it getting dark out there — and neglect to advise pedestrians to BE VISIBLE. When I asked ACPA about this, their response was (sputter) this is just meant to respond to recent attacks. Okay…. but its entitled Jogger and Pedestrian Safety…. and there is a huge risk of joggers getting hit if they are dressed in dark. So why not add one bullet that says “Be Visible.” ACPA’s response… silence.


      • drax

        You want to be invisible so the bad guys can’t see you. Duh!
        Ninja Style!

  • Bluemontsince1961

    To all the joggers and cyclists that I’ve seen early in the morning wearing things to make themselves easily visible/having lights on their bicycles, etc., thank you. It makes it much easier for me to see you when driving in the mornings and evenings when it is dark.

    • Wilbur

      But not the joggers down near Rosslyn. That would be all the college kids from GTown and GW. They jog thru Rosslyn, along the GW trail, in dark sweats. Under the Memorial Bridge, they are invisible. They are also less then visible to cars at the parkway crossings and intersections.

      What you are seeing are – at least what I have seen – the older more mature joggers, who have bought a clue about visibility.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Maybe so, Wilbur, I don’t live near Rosslyn. At least in my neighborhood near Bluemont and Bon Air parks, the majority of cyclists and joggers going out in the early mornings or evenings take steps to ensure they are visible and I’m glad for it, since they are looking out for their safety and mine. The majority are older (out of college at least). Sounds like the ones down near Rosslyn may not give a flip about their safety – it is hard to me to imagine with all the publicly available safety information that they’d be unaware of dressing to be visible.

    • JamesE

      I have nearly gotten into accidents due to how some of them dress but not because of the clothes being too dark.

      • SomeGuy

        JamesE, I appreciated that, even if no one else did. We’ve all been there, my friend.

      • cyclist

        JamesE understands why I ride a bike, usually in back of the pack.

    • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

      As a runner and cyclist I would thank people as well… I wish the running groups that use the WO&D trail would learn this lesson. Please don’t run in packs taking up 2/3 of the entire trail in the dark… they can see me coming on my bike b/c I am well lit, but not the reverse as they are wearing no lights, nothing reflective, and often dark colors too.

      In a similar vein, cyclists: don’t ride on the streets with one teeny rear flasher and nothing else. Motorists can not see you well. I hate to say it, but spend some money, and gear up with good lights front and rear and bright colored clothing.

  • I tend to support the Arlington Police who say there is no significant increase in attacks to runners in Arlington. Pacers is right in advising their clientele to be careful when running on the trails, but they need to be careful not to create an untrue assessment of what is going on. Arlington Police did right to advise runners to be vigilant and they did good by not over-exergating what is really going on.

    • Carl

      Exactly. The police did the right thing in tipping the public about basic safety, and not over reacting based on what some politicians or the public perceive to be a problem. The police are the experts in doing their job, not the county leaders.

    • SomeGuy

      Where did you see Pacers trying to “create an untrue assessment of what is going on?” I didn’t see that anywhere. The quote from the article was, “…we are getting concerned about the number of attacks on women runners in Arlington.”

      ArlNow writes that “she’s noticing what may be an upward trend,” which may not reference a direct quote, and is certainly not a definitive assertion. Further, the ArlNow article referenced goes on to say the ACPD is NOT seeing an upward trend. I.e. Arlington community member poses a question which is succinctly answered by the ACPD.

      And Carl, I also like to think the Police are the experts, but that won’t prevent me from questioning their policies and procedures. I recommend you do the same instead of blindly assuming that “they’re the experts, so they must be right.”

      • CrystalMikey

        Well said.

      • SomeGuy,

        I think Kathy Dalby from Pacers is incorrect in trying to state the attacks on female runners is becoming increasingly worrisome. She is stating these types of attacks are in an upward trend and implies that Arlington is in some sort of crisis because of her observations. This could not be further from the truth.

        As quoted in ArlNow, Arlington County Police spokeswoman Det. Crystal Nosal said she hasn’t noticed any pronounced increase in assaults or sexual batteries on female joggers. She said incidents of women being touched inappropriately while jogging usually go down during cold weather months.

        Let me be clear, no attack on any female runner is acceptable, it is criminal. But is is also inappropriate for a respected running store to try and raise a red flag and create an atmosphere of fear when it is unwarranted. This is why I think Pacers is trying to create an untrue assessment of what is going on.The facts do not support Ms. Dalby or SomeGuy. Arlington streets, parks and trails are safe to run in.

        I suggest that Pacers works with the Arlington Police department before putting out any further untrue assessments of what is going on. We are a community and Pacers needs to be a working part of this. Arlington Police will work with anyone in this community to correct wrongs.

        Respectfully, listen to your police. They have a better handle on this than Ms. Dalby from Pacers or SomeGuy.

        • CrystalMikey

          While the Police say this, Pacers knows of more than just this incident that has happened in the county in the last few months. The store or Ms. Dalby has nothing to gain monetarily from “raising fears”.

          • CrystalMikey,

            I cannot go into a movie theater and scream fire.

            Ms. Dalby has no right to go into a popular blog and declare that Arlington is unsafe for runners. She needs to be a responsible member of our community and work her concerns though the appropriate channels, namely the police, who can work this issue better than her.

            Shame on Pacers for allowing this to happen.

          • CrystalMikey

            Well, it seems running solo in the cover of darkness in the county (or just about anywhere for that matter), is playing with said fire. She’s merely suggesting that one should try to be “smart” about when, how, where you run. That being said, this is exactly what you said it is, a Blog (no offense ARLnow), and if the admins of this site didn’t think that what she said was that bad they probably wouldn’t have posted it in the first place. It’s not like it a comment that she typed on her verbatim. Finally, Pacers has nothing to gain and very much to lose by saying the County is unsafe for runners.

          • I’m not sure why people continue to use the word “blog” in a dismissive context. Blog in our case merely refers to the format of the web site, not some sort of institutional philosophy. We’re an award-winning local, independent online news operation staffed by individuals (one full time, one part time) with professional journalism backgrounds. The fact that we’re not printed on paper or broadcast from an antenna does not mean that we don’t have standards of reporting. In fact, I’d venture to say that we break more important, original local news stories than just about any other organization our size. Yes, we might make some typos, and yes, we sometimes write about things that are too small and local for the Washington Post to care about, but publishing decisions aren’t made lightly.

            In this case, a prominent local business owner raised valid concerns about the safety of some Arlington residents. We made it quite clear that the “trend” was her opinion and that police didn’t see it that way. But that should not take away from the ultimate message behind the article.

        • SomeGuy

          Here’s why your wrong with every sentence of just your first paragraph:

          “I think Kathy Dalby from Pacers is incorrect in trying to state the attacks on female runners is becoming increasingly worrisome.”

          If she’s increasingly worried, then she’s not “incorrect” that her individual concerns are becoming increasingly worrisome.

          “She is stating these types of attacks are in an upward trend and implies that Arlington is in some sort of crisis because of her observations.”

          She said she’s “noticing what may be an upward trend.” She didn’t state it as fact as your response implies, just stated her personal observation that is causing her to have individual concerns. I neither saw nor inferred the word “crisis” from her statements.

          “This could not be further from the truth.”
          Complete hyperbole. I don’t know how one measures distance from truth, but I suspect that if there’s a clear measure, I could come up with statements further than the truth from anything Dalby stated.

          Later on…
          “This is why I think Pacers is trying to create an untrue assessment of what is going on.”
          Really? You’re going to accuse Dalby of trying to create untrue assessments? For what gain? So pacers can sell more… pepper spray? That’s a bold accusation from someone who’s so adamant that the rest of us aren’t dealing in facts.

          “The facts do not support Ms. Dalby or SomeGuy.”
          Did you read my post? What facts did I state other than quoting articles and stating my opinion on why I didn’t think Dalby did anything outrageously malicious?

          “[Police] have a better handle on this than Ms. Dalby from Pacers or SomeGuy.”
          Again, did you even read my post? I actually deferred to the police facts on the matter.

          Perhaps you’re trolling.

  • DarkHeart

    Laser sighted, .380 Ruger loaded with hollow points packed in Thunderwear.


    • Michelle

      I actually have a .380 and I can’t imagine running with it. I can’t barely handle the tomfoolery associated with carrying a cell phone when running.

  • R. Griffon

    I’ve got another tip: Stay OFF THE GD STREETS!!!

    I don’t mean CROSSING streets, I mean running DOWN the street like you think that 30 ft. wide piece of pavement with cars parked on either side of it is the Custis Friggin’ Trail, when there’s a perfectly good sidewalk 10 ft. away from your inconsiderate ass.

    Makes me insane.

    • take your meds mister Griffon

      The sidewalks are rarely “perfectly good” or adequate for running. They are concreate and terrible on the knees as well as having low tree limbs, trash containers and other items to dodge around. As the saying goes – run on the sidewalk and you are less likely to be hit by a car – you will just feel like you were hit by one anyway.
      I prefer to run on the trails myself but I can see why folks run on the street not the sidewalk…try and have some patience and empathy and you may not actually go insane.

      • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

        There is very little difference between the concrete of a sidewalk and the asphalt street. Neither give like natural terrain, which is the only abundant surface that lessens impact on the body. But yes, runners should generally stay out of the street, or run next to the curb facing oncoming traffic so both are clearly visible to each other.

      • drax

        Um, no, you won’t feel like you were hit by a car. If you ever are, you will know the difference. Do not walk or run in the street. It’s dumb.

        • JamesE

          I usually go for a nice morning jog on 66 or 495.

        • Chris M.

          As long as you don’t listen to music (because that suggestion is realistic), you should be able to hear the cars coming, Right?

        • KARLington

          I shouldn’t be, but am, consistently surprised by cyclist/runner comments on here indicating that their workout quality or uninterrupted-ness is more important to them than being alive or not permanently injured.

          As a runner, I don’t like the cracked/leaf-covered/hard-surface/obstructed sidewalks either, but I’d rather run carefully on them than gain the small benefit of running on asphalt where a car can knock me into the hereafter.

      • JimPB

        Yes — Sidewalks are often hazard walks. Another source– wheelchair bound folks — mention the obstacles on sidewalks to their getting around, especially in residential areas. Like runners, the wheelchairers usually find the roads are smoother going.

        A good, big step toward making ArlCo a get around without a car community would be making sidewalks hazard-free and, during the winter, as free of snow and ice as the roads.

      • R. Griffon

        Oh I see. So they should run in the street if the sidewalk isn’t perfect. Got it.

        So drivers should drive on the sidewalk if the street isn’t perfect? Because that’s what you’re saying – go ahead and create an unsafe situation if you don’t like the surface that you’re supposed to be using.

        If the sidewalks aren’t perfect enough for your discriminating tastes, then find a park, a trail (you know we’ve got one or two around here), a treadmill, or pick a different hobby.

        • You are such an ass

          Can’t we accomodate both?
          Nobody is suggesting that people should run on i-66 but in the neighorhoods where it is quite safe if people are less agressive
          – but no- t because it makes you angry?. Perhaps if you exercized a bit you would be less angry

          • R. Griffon

            No, we can’t. Because it’s unsafe, ILLEGAL, and they simply don’t belong there. You’re not entitled to create an unsafe situation for others just because you feel like it.

            And I get plenty of exercise. I walk all over this town, and bike as well. And you know what? I do both where I belong. I walk on sidewalks, cross at crosswalks, and bike in bike lanes. That way it’s safe for me and others around me that don’t have to worry about hitting someone who’s somewhere they don’t belong because they feel entitled to use space meant for other modes of transport. Radical concept I know.

          • R. Griffon

            Also, ad hominem attacks pretty much prove you realize you’ve got no valid argument here.

            So there’s that.

          • Add Hominy

            and there’s this:
            sorry to let the facts get in the way of whatever your think is ILLEGAL

          • drax

            Um, Madison, WI =/= Arlington, VA. We have our own set of laws.

            Sorry to let THAT fact get in the way.

            I don’t know if it’s legal to run in the street here, but in many cases it is stupid.

  • DarkHeart,

    As reported in the Free Republic (which is article that I think you are referring to) Rick Perry stated he will still pack a concealed .380 Ruger loaded with deadly hollow-point bullets, fully equipped with a laser-sight for precise killing when he goes for a run if he is elected president. Don’t think that applies to running in Arlington or am I missing your point?

  • G::TheNativeArlingtonian

    As a nitpic note: a “deadly” hollow point slug is no more deadly than a fully jacketed (encased in copper and generally with a pointed tip) round. Both are travelling at around 1000 feet per second (for a .380). A hollow point can do more damage, per se, but it is more about where you are hit. A .22 to the head can kill you dead in your tracks and it smaller than the eraser end of a pencil.


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