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Joggers urged to take simple safety steps

Nhia Clarke is accompanied by her husband, Patrick, on Monday while on a jog along Route 13 in Cortlandville. Cortland police officer Ben Locke recommends that joggers run with a partner for their safety.

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Nhia Clarke is accompanied by her husband, Patrick, on Monday while on a jog along Route 13 in Cortlandville. Cortland police officer Ben Locke recommends that joggers run with a partner for their safety.

With summer upon us, people looking to jog for exercise will be looking toward the early morning and evening hours when the heat from the summer sun isn’t as strong. It’s during this time that remaining vigilant of your surroundings and possible attackers is most important.

In the early morning and late at night especially, people should jog with a partner or group, city police suggest.

Run with a partner, whether a human or a dog, said police officer Ben Locke. People think twice if you’re running with a dog, Locke said. They don’t know how the dog will react if its owner is attacked or starts to scream for help. If the dog barks, the barking could alert nearby people, he said.

Lt. David Guerrera concurred with the idea of running with a partner, whether human orcanine.
“It’s a lot harder for someone to control two people,” Guerrera said.

If you are running alone, let someone know the route of a run and what the planned destination is, Guerrera suggests. Also he urged runners to carry a noise maker, something that can alert people who are nearby. A small metal container with rocks or coins in it, for example, can be shaken to startle an attacker.

“Make noise, alert as many people as you can,” Guerrera said.

If an attacker is coming toward a jogger, the first thing that jogger should do is to see if he or she has the ability to retreat, Locke said. Runners should also see if they can make a phone call, Locke said.

“I see a lot of people running while listening to music for motivation. I’d suggest running with one earbud in so you can hear what is going on around you,” Locke said. Also always watch people’s hands and the items that may be in them, Locke said.

Locke urged situational awareness. Runners should know what street they’re on at all times, Locke said. “This helps so they can tell a 911 dispatcher where they are,” Locke said.

Another thing to keep in mind should a physical attack occur is the acronym SING, Guerrera said.

S — Solar plexus. When defending, drive an elbow or a fist into the attacker’s sternum.
I — Instep. When defending, strike an attacker in the shin.
N — Nose. When defending, hit the attacker as hard as possible in the nose.
G — Groin. When defending, strike an attacker in the groin.
Guerrera recommended that runners not travel by the same route every time. If someone is watching, that person can learn the routine and it makes it easier for them to attack, Guerrera said. Most important, just be aware of your surroundings, he said.

“The last thing we (the cops) want is a confrontation,” Locke said.

The city police have no statistics specific to jogging-related attacks, said Guerrera, who was not immediately aware of any incidents of such attacks. Only the criminal charges would be recorded, whether it is assault or another charge, he said.

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