There have been four attempted abductions/attacks in my area in the past week. All have been on women walking or running alone late at night or in the early morning. One was at Molly and I's favorite lake to go running at. This kind of stuff makes me so nervous.
I already worry about what I would do if I was attacked while running with Molly in the stroller. I'm not a fast runner and I know I couldn't outrun an attacker. I worry that I wouldn't be able to get Molly out of her stroller fast enough (especially with how bundled she is in it). And then I get mad, I shouldn't have to worry about this kind of stuff. I should be able to go for a run with my child and feel good about it. I should feel safe in my neighborhood. And usually I do but the actions of one man in the past week has made me feel vulnerable and I really don't like it.
This worry made me skip our usual run around Greenlake. It's silly because I like to run there because it is crowded and because it is the perfect 3 mile loop from my car, around the lake and back again. I like that we see the same faces as we go around the lake. It is usually crowded with Moms and their babies. I even see people from my running group which I love!
And it isn't just me that is worried. My facebook page and Mom's email list has been littered with warnings. One of my Momma running friends emailed me after her run and told it me it was the scariest runs but fastest runs she had ever done due to the fear.
Out of this fear has come some good things though. I usually run with music and while I still am, I have lowered the volume so that I can be more aware of my surroundings. I am taking note of where I am running and keeping an eye on people around me. I always carry my ID when I go out running. I am moving to the other side of the street or taking a different route if someone makes me feel uncomfortable and I DO NOT CARE IF I HURT THEIR FEELINGS. You wig me out, I will change my direction.
My Mom's email list forwarded the following email from the local Seattle Police Crime Prevention coordinator and I feel like it is FULL of great tips that I want to share with you.
- Awareness and avoidance: Keep alert and tuned in to your surroundings.
- Do you know your location? Do you know the street names, hundred block? East, South, West, North? Could you tell the 9-1-1 call taker to where they need to dispatch responders?
- Trust your instincts! If you have an uncomfortable feeling-honor it! Leave, cross the street, double-back. Forget “being nice”. If you feel uncomfortable, move! Don’t hesitate to make a scene or scream if necessary.
- Try to get good descriptions of anyone acting suspiciously or threatening. Start from the head and work down. Most likely you know your height, so use this to gauge theirs.
- Try and stay on streets where you can be easily seen by others. Well-lighted streets are best.
- If traveling alone, take a charged up cell phone with you if possible. Know what is available to you along your route. What time does that store open or close? Does that apt.bldg. have a security guard? Is there a payphone?
- Ipod earphones, etc. may prevent you from hearing someone approaching. As does texting while you are walking, waiting for the bus, etc. You need to be aware when out if public spaces.
- Traveling with another person, is tried and true in reducing street crime. Going with two others reduces the risk even more.
- Carrying a minimum amount of possessions is advised when out and about. It isn’t necessary to carry all your credit cards, check book, cash, and so on, every time you go out. Take what you need for this trip. Keep valuables close to the body, in inside pockets. This frees up your hands and does not invite pickpocketing.
- Body Language: Stand tall, walk confidently with your head up, eyes open and constantly scanning the surroundings.
- Try not to show fear. Keep a neutral face that shows you are “in charge”.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the street. Shoes that are comfortable and allow you to run if necessary. Choose clothing that allows you to move, and does not block your vision.
- And as always, please call 9-1-1 for anything suspicious or to report a crime in progress.
Stay safe out there! Not everyone is as nice as we'd like for them to be.