MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG)– Safety is on the mind of female runners following the abduction and murder of avid runner Eliza Fletcher.
Safety experts say if you plan to run or jog alone, there are things you can do to make yourself less of a target and keep yourself safe.
“Verbalization is a fantastic tool.” said Sara Hooker with KMD Self-Defense & Fitness, “Verbalizing how to say stop, back up, get away from me. Anything you can do to draw attention which generally criminals don’t like.”
Memphis Police said Fletcher was forced into an SUV by Cleotha Abston while running on Central at Zach Curlin on the University of Memphis campus last Friday.
Hooker said she teaches Krav Maga self-defense to women to give them an upper hand against assailants twice their size. She says there are also lots of gadgets, like air tags that allow others to keep track of you and weapons you conceal or carry in your hand to fight back.
“If you carry a gun, one of the important things to consider, and this would also go for pepper spray and stun gun and anything like that, is how you carry it. Is it easily accessible, and have you trained to deploy it from where you carry it?” Hooker said.
Hooker said if you are a runner, consider changing up your route and the time you run.
“Even if it’s just a little each time,” she said. “That predictability can cause potential issues if someone is targeting you or watching you.”
Police have not said if they believe Abston had been watching Fletcher for any length of time.
Hooker said there are earphones that sit on the front of the ear and allow runners to listen to their music while still hearing what is going on around them.
Safety experts say if you can find a running buddy and always let someone know where you are going.