“What’s New in County 22?”
My heart goes out to the families of Mollie Tibbetts and Celia Barquiin Arozamena. Two college students from the State of Iowa recently and selfishly taken from us. I know this is a hot topic with new students recently going to college for the first time this year so in my article this month I would like to give you some ideas or suggestions on what do if you are running, or even biking, walking or just enjoying the outdoors. I found most of these tips on the internet but have a few I use myself.
Share Your Itinerary: Whenever I go out hunting, I tell my wife where I am going even if I know it is not a dangerous climb into a tree stand. Since she does not know the nicknames of the landmarks where I hunt, I usually tell her to call a friend of mine that knows which area or stand I am going to be in and what time I should return. If you are running or walking in town, let someone know what time you are going and about when you should be back. If you do not know the street names, tell them the best route you are going, like by John Doe’s house, around the school, by the park and home, etc.
Mix it up: Try to change up your routes as much as possible. Following the same routes every day makes it easier for stalkers to target you. If you cannot change your route, change the times you go, so you are not so predictable.
Run in the daylight: Studies show that it is much safer for women to jog or walk when it is light out. It is less likely that attackers will try anything in the daylight. If you want to go on nature trails or jog in secluded areas, make sure to take other people with you.
Carry a cellphone: Always carry a cell phone with you and make sure it is easily accessible and fully charged so you can contact someone if you need to. You might even need it if you sprain an ankle or obtain an injury. If you do not have a cell phone carry a whistle or alarm.
Limit the Music: Good music can inspire you to push yourself a little harder but music can also shut out the noises around you. Try using one headphone instead of two so you can still hear what is going on around you. This would also be helpful if a motorist is honking to get your attention.
Carry Pepper Spray or Mace: A lot of people think only cops carry this but you can buy it at any outdoor store like Cabela’s. Hunters use it for bears and it is not that expensive. They also make some that are attached to key chains for easy access.
Do not Run Alone: There is safety in numbers so it is good to go in pairs or more. If possible, take a dog with you.
Stay Alert: Try to be aware of what is going on around you. Use your eyes, ears and intuition to warn yourself of possible danger or suspicious behavior. If you have any suspicion of anything unusual, give us a call or at least tell someone else about it.
Take A Self Defense Class: One of the most important elements of taking a self-defense class if the confidence building as well as the verbal and physical protection skills. Sgt. Brent Ostrander is a defensive tactics instructor and has training in self-defense. He is willing to teach self-defense for groups of people interested. Please contact our office and ask for him if you would like to set something up.
By writing this article, I am not trying to scare anyone or hinder your outdoor activities. I believe we live in a safe community, but taking extra precaution cannot hurt anyone and is not a bad practice to use as you grow old or pass onto your children.
And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at email@example.com, or stop by to see me.
Thanks and be safe,
Sheriff Mike Tschirgi