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No, you don’t have to run with a nightstick for extra security when the days get shorter and you keep training. Today’s personal defense products are now tiny—and techy.
RunRaegis Safety App
Part fitness app, part safety beacon, the RunRaegis app notifies one (or more) personal safety contacts when you head out for a run. In addition to real-time tracking, the app will alert safety contacts if you aren’t finished with your workout when you should be. A “panic” button puts 911 at your fingertips 24/7.
Pros: Easy to use, free for basic fitness data and panic button.
Cons: A “safety network” feature, which uses crowdsourcing to notify of dangerous situations nearby, may not be as effective in areas with low participation.
Free basic download, $24.99 annual premium subscription, Runraegis.com
Sabre Runner Personal Alarm
One of the biggest deterrents to robbery and attack is sound—loud noises attract attention, and attention means witnesses to the crime. This wrist-worn personal alarm emits a piercing 130-decibel blare that can be heard from up to 1,000 feet away.
Pros: A pull ring, not a button, reduces the chance of accidental trigger.
Cons: Only effective in populated areas. Does not disable an attacker.
Mace Peppergard Sport
Designed to thwart an attack from up to 12 feet away, this small, handheld pepper spray is easy to deploy: Simply flick open the flip-top safety cap and press the trigger. The powerful pepper formula, when aimed at the face, causes coughing, choking, and an intense burning sensation.
Pros: Provides a way to fight back against human attackers as well as loose canines.
Cons: Wind blowback can mean the spray affects you as much as (or even more than) the attacker. Certain states have restrictions on age; others require a license to carry.
According to the National Crime Prevention Council, common sense is the first and best defense.
• Choose well-lit, familiar routes.
• When possible, do workouts with a training buddy (human or canine).
• Avoid distraction from earbuds, gadgets, or “zoning out.”
• If you think someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street. If the person persists, move quickly toward an open store or a lighted house. Don’t be afraid to yell for help.
• If someone tries to rob you, give up your property—don’t give up your life.
• If you are robbed or assaulted, report the crime to the police immediately. Try to describe the attacker accurately.