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CRIME TRACKER: Women still vulnerable on Utah County trails

One week after the brutal rape and beating of a young Provo jogger, women are still taking chances on the trails.
PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) - One week after the brutal rape and beating of a young Provo jogger, women are still taking chances and putting themselves at risk.

"Make sure you're in the light," says Brook Booth.

"Self defense classes are important," says Emilee Westover. 

They were out for a stroll on the Provo River trail, at the mouth of Provo Canyon. They thought they were taking every precaution. We caught them unarmed. 

"I noticed that you don't have a cell phone.  Am I right or wrong?" I ask Walker, "You're right."  "Why'd you leave it in the car?"  "Because I didn't want to carry it." 

Law enforcers say that's just one of many mistakes predators are looking for women to make. 

"They're looking for people who don't have cell phones.  You can carry a cell phone, even a disconnected cell phone.  As long as a cell phone has power, you can dial 9-1-1," says Sgt Craig Martinez with the Orem Police.  "The best advice I can give is always run with a partner." 

Corrine Larsen brought her canine companion on the trail with her. "Why'd you bring your pet?"  I ask.  "Part ways, for safety.  I feel safe with her, especially after what happened last week," says Larsen. 

Today, the trail where last week's rape happened is abandoned.  Prove police say they don't want the citizens of this city to be afraid.  They want them to be alert. 

"Thinking you are perfectly safe, it is probably a mistake to think that. There are dangers everywhere," says Provo Police Captain Cliff Argyle.

Crime Tracker shows 44 sex assaults during the past month in the Provo-Orem area.  Not all the victims are women on jogging trails but police are warning, a false sense of security can be a fatal mistake. 

"Be aware of your surroundings at all times," says Captain Argyle. "You see joggers and they have their i-pod in and they're completely zoned out to everything that's around them." 

Going out alone, with speakers in both ears, without cell phones or self-defense weapons are all common mistakes that make women vulnerable in public. 

"Let this be a lesson to you," I say. "Yeah, no kidding," says Brook Booth.

In addition to bicycle patrols on running, hiking, and cycling trails and at recreation areas, Orem Police are offering six-week hands-on self defense lessons for women. To find out how to sign up just call the Orem Police department at (801) 229-7070. 

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