The Fort Smith Police Department offers tips for preventing deadly assaults when walking.
On Aug. 30, a woman at the Fort Smith National Historic Site was stabbed several times by a man in what police called a “random act of violence.”
“Assaults can happen to anyone at any time and any place,” Sgt. Daniel Grubbs of the Fort Smith Police Department writes. “Assaults are considered crimes of violence because they involve the threat or actual use of physical violence. Motivations behind assaults vary, and are difficult to predict. There are several things you can do to reduce your chances of being victimized.”
Police issued the following tips for staying safe while walking:
• If possible, don't walk alone during late-night hours. Walk in groups whenever you can — there is always safety in numbers.
• Let a family member or friend know your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return.
• Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible. Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas and other short-cuts or secluded areas.
• Walk on the sidewalk whenever possible. Walk close to the curb, avoiding doorways, bushes and other potential hiding places.
• If you have to walk in the street, walk facing traffic. A person walking with traffic can be followed more easily than a person walking against traffic.
• Walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace. Don't stop to talk to strangers.
• Wear clothing and shoes that give you freedom of movement.
• Always be aware of your surroundings. If you are wearing headphones, don't turn up the volume so high that you cannot hear outside noises.
Report any suspicious activity or person(s) to your local law enforcement agency.
Fort Smith police nonemergency: (479) 709-5100. In an emergency, call 911.