You don’t have to start running with pepper spray, but it’s a good idea to carry your smart phone, advises Paul Grattan Jr., a policing fellow at the National Police Foundation and a sergeant with a major metropolitan police force. And make sure it’s fully charged before you head out.
“A cell phone is your most powerful tool in many ways,” he says. In addition to taking a video to document a harasser when possible, you can use it to:
Download an app that allows friends and family to monitor your location while you run. We like AllTrails Lifeline or RoadID, which alerts your chosen contacts if you stop moving or go off course and don’t respond to the app’s alerts. Or, call or text a friend to let them know you’re headed out for a run and send a pin with your starting location.
Call a Friend
If you’re running through a sketchy area or feel like you’re being followed, call someone. (Or even pretend to.) Tell them where you are and start an ongoing conversation. It tells the harasser that you’re not really alone and that you can easily get help. “Criminals prefer as ideal an environment as possible when selecting targets or choosing when to act, and anything that disrupts that is beneficial,” Grattan says.
Send Out an SOS
Check your phone’s emergency features. That way you won’t be trying to figure it out when you need it, Grattan says. For example, on an iPhone 8 or later: Simultaneously press and hold the right side button and one of the volume buttons to engage the Emergency SOS feature. After a countdown, the phone will automatically call local authorities, as well as text your emergency contacts your current location and updates whenever your location changes. On an iPhone 7 or earlier, rapidly press the top or side button five times.
Safety features on Android devices vary. On a Samsung phone: Hold and press the power button to see the power menu options and then tap Emergency Mode, which will conserve device power and allow you to send your location to contacts, and turn on the flash and sound alarms. (You need to accept Terms and Conditions the first time you use Emergency Mode, so set it up now.) Google announced in August that it will release a feature in the Phone app on Pixel and select Android devices in coming months to allow users to tap a Medical, Fire, or Police button during an emergency call to send info (along with your location) to 911 operators without speaking.
Or Simply Dial 911
“I’ve encountered many people who say they didn’t want to call 911 because they didn’t think it was serious enough,” Grattan says. “If your instinct tells you something is suspicious or troubling, you can call 911.” This will do two things: generate a police response and log your location (you should report it to the operator, though many jurisdictions will get it automatically via the 911 system). “In my 18 years in law enforcement, I never felt aggravated about someone’s choice to call us,” Grattan says.
If you’re actually being attacked, your phone can help you fight back. While it may not be an ideal weapon, “it is a blunt instrument that could be used to strike an attacker in the face,” Grattan says. Really, anything you’re already carrying can be used to your advantage. “Having any object in your hand to defend yourself is better than none,” he says.
The Runners Alliance is an initiative to help make running safer for women. adidas westfield culver city mall stores.