Expert offers tips for safe jogging on MKT Trail

The Tibbetts case has put issue in the spotlight

MKT Trail safety

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The news of the death of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts and the capture of her accused killer this week has highlighted the need for safety while jogging.

Police have been called more than 100 times in the last year to the MKT Trail, a popular spot for Columbia and Boone County joggers.


In the last six weeks, they have been called more than 30 times for reasons including sightings of suspicious people and harassment incidents.

University of Missouri graduate student Taylor Paskoff said she feels safe because she runs in daylight.

"Even though I run by myself, it's perfect daylight when I'm out here," Paskoff said.

However, police calls are made to the trail at all times of the day.

Just two years ago, a woman was assaulted and a 14-year-old said was subjected to sexual harassment.

ABC 17 spoke with Law Enforcement Training Institute professor Adam Duncan about safety techniques trail users can use.

"The number one tip that I can give anyone from a prevention standpoint, use the buddy system," Duncan said.

He said FBI statistics prove the "buddy system," or running with another person, lowers the risk of being victim by up to 90 percent.

Janet Godon with Columbia Parks and Recreation said she suggests staying alert and keeping one ear free.

Duncan recommends some key prevention items to bring on the trail.

"Pepper spray, key chain devices, people talk about guns and knives," Duncan said.

However, he said there's a risk with these tools because they can be used against you.

Duncan said if you are approached to make loud, affirmative noises.

"No. Stop. Get back," Duncan said.

If you are grabbed, he said there are key pressure points to hit.

"Nose, eye, throat and groin," Duncan said.

The Columbia Police Department did not respond to an ABC 17 request for an update in the assault and sexual harassment case from two years ago. 


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