Police issue safety tips after Loudoun Co. runner attacks

LEESBURG, Va. — After two women were attacked while running this week in Loudoun County, officials are offering some tips to help runners stay safe while out on the road.

The most important tip Leesburg police have is to always be aware of your surroundings. That may mean skipping earbuds so you can hear traffic and other people.

It always helps to walk, run or jog in a group; there is strength in numbers. However, if you are running by yourself, make sure someone else knows where you are going and when you should be expected back.

Police recommend carrying your cellphone, and even a whistle or loud battery-powered personal-alarm device.

Make sure you wear bright clothing so you can be seen, and walk, run or jog in the open. Running close to a wooded area or near bushes could put you at risk for a surprise attack. Also, try not to run at night, when visibility is greatly reduced.

Another way to help deter an attack is by walking or jogging confidently; eliminating any perceived weakness will make you a less likely target. Make sure you look people in the eye when you are passing them, it makes others know that you are aware of their presence.

If you ever feel like you are being followed, go to a house, open business or find a group of people. And if you ever feel threatened, Leesburg police say you should contact authorities immediately.

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