Tips for staying safe on the Monon Trail in warmer weather

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 12, 2016) - Warm spring weather is on the way, so it’s a safe bet the Monon Trail will be packed with runners, walkers, and bikers through the rest of the week. But crime on the trail is also a concern, especially after an incident last October where two people were attacked by groups of teens near 86th street.

The trail is patrolled by IMPD’s bike officers, but they typically work daytime shifts during the week, so that means you also have a large responsibility to protect yourself.

Despite a picture-perfect Tuesday afternoon on the trail, for Tara Tearman, crime is on her mind, though nothing has happened to her.

“I haven’t had any incidents. I haven’t,” she said, “It’s a little fear, but I just won’t let that stop me.”

“The perception is so magnified by media coverage, and that’s because we all feel ownership of the trail. It really bisects the heart of our city,” said City-County Councillor Colleen Fanning.

Tuesday night, Fanning along with IMPD and other groups held a forum for citizens for concerns over crime on the Monon Trail.

Two incidents in broad daylight back in October on the same day sparked fear, after two different men were approached by groups of juveniles and jumped, south of 86th Street. Neither victim was seriously injured. Police didn’t capture suspects, either.

That specific crime spree brought Jill Saligoe-Simmel to Tuesday’s meeting.

“It was a concern for me and all of the neighbors in that area,” she said.

Metro police said the Monon Trail is safe and incidents like that are quite uncommon, especially when you compare the Monon Trail with other places in Indianapolis.

“When something happens on the Monon it’s newsworthy,” said IMPD bike patrolman John Wall, “Compared to the rest of the city, it’s one of the safest places to go and recreate.”

Wall said just because crime on the Monon is uncommon doesn’t mean it won’t happen. He encourages all residents to use caution and provided the following tips for runners and walkers:

  • Park in retail areas that are higher trafficked
  • Secure valuables
  • Pay attention to your surroundings
  • Resist staring at your phone
  • Leave one earbud or headphone out of your ear so you can better hear and react
  • Go in groups

Wall also provided these general safety tips for bikers:

  • Always stop at crosswalks
  • Be courteous
  • Alert those around you of passes
  • Slow down

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