PARKERSBURG, WV (WTAP) –
You never think it will happen to you.
In Memphis, a teacher was kidnapped and killed early Friday morning.
When going out, safety is probably a top priority.
Staying hydrated and being aware of traffic and crosswalks are important when walking or running outdoors, but what about being aware of your surroundings?
With the recent news of the kidnapping and murder of Memphis teacher Eliza Fletcher while out for a run… we are reminded of the importance of starting off carefully.
We asked local law enforcement to share some tips on how people in the Mid Ohio Valley can stay safe while enjoying running and walking outdoors.
Local law enforcement say it’s some of the basic advice we’ve all been told… but often gets forgotten when we decide to go for a run.
Williamstown Police Chief Shawn Graham and Sergeant Cole of Vienna remind us to run with a partner…choose well-lit, more populated areas…wear reflective clothing or use lights if it’s dark…and *always* be attentive and thinking.
“…If you see something, you need to have a thought or idea of an escape route. You just need to think things through ahead of time if you can. “What would I do in this situation?” ‘And yes?’ Know where she is and who she’s from and honestly people say sometimes you get a feeling something didn’t seem right with those guys. Something didn’t seem right. Well, that’s usually an accurate feeling, and you feel that way for a reason. So you need to listen to your intuition on things like that,” Chief Graham explained.
Amy Eddy runs almost every morning before work. She tries to stay safe by running with a partner, changing her route, using a light, and leaving the headphones behind.
“Every time you hear those stories, I think you become more self-aware to try to see what you’re doing with your routine every day and what you can do to try to keep yourself safer,” said Amy Eddy.
Even with all these precautions, Eddy says hearing stories like Eliza Fletcher’s is scary.
“…it makes us all anxious and nervous about going out and running alone in the dark, whether it’s in the morning or at night. And I think we just have to take a step back, look at our habits, see what we can do to support ourselves, do the best we can… but keep doing what you love. You don’t want to let people who mean to do bad things dictate what you do or ruin the things you love to do.”
Chief Graham and Sgt. Cole said they have officers patrolling the cities at all times to help keep the streets safe and let people know they are there.
While people may be hesitant to call the police because they may feel insecure or embarrassed, both Chief Graham and Sgt. Cole emphasized the saying, if you see something… say something!
“We’d rather respond and be nothing than have them guess at themselves and then something bad happens,” said Sgt. Cole explained.
“It may not be a crime, it may not be anything, but that’s what law enforcement is here for, to check on that kind of thing. Sometimes that will turn out to be something,” Graham said.
Both Chief Graham and Sgt. Cole brought up the idea of taking self-defense classes. “The more you can take care of yourself, the less of a victim you will be,” Graham explained.
Eddy said she doesn’t plan to stop running and will continue to be as safe as possible.
Copyright 2022 WTAP. All rights reserved.