County Police Offer Spring Safety Tips for Trails & Paths

With the warm weather apparently here to stay, people are spending more time outdoors for leisurely walks, invigorating exercise and taking advantage of Fairfax County’s trails. Police encourage residents to be smart and take precautions when using trails, parks, paths and remote roadways.

Recent incidents 

On April 14, police responded to a report of a 27-year-old woman who was power-walking at midday when she was grabbed by a man on a wooded trail near Danbury Forest Drive. The victim yelled, fled the trail and called police for help. The man was described as Hispanic, between 5’6” -5’9” feet tall and around 150-170 pounds. He was professionally attired in a white, buttoned shirt and a dark vest, black slacks and black shoes.

In a separate incident on April 17, a man whistled at a jogger in an area near Sully Park and Truitt Farm Drive. When she looked over, he was exposing himself and masturbating. This may have been another in a series of similar incidents in the Sully Police District in recent months. The woman yelled and saw him run down a paved path. She described him as olive-skinned with a protruding belly, green shirt and blue jeans. He was between 5’3” – 5’7” feet tall.

While Fairfax County has among the lowest number of violent crimes in the country, many outdoor crimes include indecent exposures, drug and narcotic offenses, trespassing, destruction of property and assault offenses.

Safety tips 

Crime Prevention Officers encourage you to follow these essential safety tips:

  • Try not to go out alone; if you do, make sure someone knows where you will be and when you expect to return.
  • If possible, avoid using trails after dark.
  • Do not use headphones at a high volume; make sure you can hear what’s going on around you.
  • Always look ahead and see what or who is around you. (Also if exercising, watch out for potholes, gates and other trail users and obey traffic signals.)
  • Call 9-1-1 if you feel you are in imminent danger.
  • Carry your cell phone with you at all times and pre-program 9-1-1 into your phone.*
  • Call the non-emergency number if you see any suspicious activity.*
  • Suspicious activity is any person, noise, car or event that doesn’t feel right to you.
  • The non-emergency number in Fairfax County is: 703-691-2131. It might be beneficial to pre-program your local police department’s non-emergency number into your phone.
  • Always lock your car doors and if driving to a trail or park, leave your valuables at home! If you do bring them, lock them in the trunk but beware of someone watching you do this.
  • Valuables commonly stolen from parked vehicles include GPS units, laptop computers, blue tooth devices, CDs, purses/wallets.
  • Remove any empty bags or briefcases from your vehicle to allay criminals’ curiosities.
  • Clean the GPS suction cup circle from your windshield.

*Do not hesitate to call the police. If you see something suspicious or are the victim of a crime (even if you are not hurt), the sooner you call the police, the more likely police can locate a suspect, individual or vehicle.

Anyone with information about the above incidents is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS/8477, e-mail, by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.