PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An unidentified man has been accosting walkers and joggers in in the city's southeast side since last Tuesday.
None of the victims were injured in any of the reported incidents, police say, but there have been several complaints reported over the past week. It is unknown if the same man is responsible for all of the violations.
The suspect, in all instances, is described being in his 20s, of Caucasian or Hispanic decent, with dark hair, facial hair, and a thin to medium build.
Pittsfield residents are being asked to report any suspicious activity relating to persons matching the above physical description by immediately calling 911.
Additionally, the following safety tips are being published by Pittsfield Police as a reminder to all residents who are enjoying the outdoors by walking, jogging, or running:
• Plan your outing. Tell a family member or friend where you are going and the time you expect to be back.
• Know where telephones are located along the course or carry a cell phone.
• Wear an identification tag or carry a driver's license. If you don't have a place to carry your ID, write your name, phone number, and blood type on the inside of your athletic shoe. Include any medical information.
• Don't wear jewelry or carry cash.
• Wear reflective material.
• Stay alert at all times. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are.
• Run or walk with a partner or a dog.
• Don't wear headsets. If you wear them you won't hear an approaching car or attacker. Listen to your surroundings.
• Exercise in familiar areas. Know which businesses or stores are open.
• Vary your route.
• Avoid unpopulated areas, deserted streets, and overgrown trails. Especially avoid poorly lighted areas at night.
• Run clear of parked cars or bushes.
• Ignore verbal harassment. Use discretion in acknowledging strangers. Look directly at others and be observant, but keep your distance and keep moving.
• Run against traffic so you can observe approaching automobiles.
• Trust your intuition about a person or an area. React based on that intuition and avoid areas you feel unsure about.
• Be careful if anyone in a car asks you for directions — if you answer, keep at least a full arm's length from the car.
• If you think you are being followed, change direction and head for open stores, theaters, or a lighted house.
• Have your door key ready before you reach your home.
• Call police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or you notice anyone out of the ordinary.
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