Spring is officially here, and Mississippi River Boulevard is bustling with students who venture out to run, bike, rollerblade or relax by the river.
Sophomore Shane McWhirter said he enjoyed running along the boulevard because it reduces stress and is conveniently located near campus.
“It’s just nice to get out of the city and kind of get out of that concrete bubble we’re in and realize that we do have a really nice river and really nice paths we can run on,” McWhirter said. “It’s stress free.”
However, there may be more than just runners on the boulevard. Public Safety Crime Prevention Sergeant Wells Farnham said that although violence is rare along the river, it’s not uncommon for suspicious activity to arise.
“Suspicious encounters do happen a few times a year when the weather gets nice,” Farnham said. “It’s a high traffic area, easy to get in and out of the area without being really noticed.”
According to the recent Public Safety briefs, on Sunday, March 25, a St. Thomas female was running along Mississippi River Boulevard and an unknown person was taking photos of her and following her.
McWhirter said students should tell others where they are going when they leave for a run at night.
“It’s always a little scary coming down here at night, even for guys,” McWhirter said. “If you’re planning on going running especially later in the night, at least make sure that you’re telling someone where you’re going.”
Farnham said students need to be smart and always be aware of their surroundings.
“If they think something suspicious is happening, or something is making them uncomfortable, go somewhere safe, return to campus or flag down a police officer,” Farnham said.
Farnham also suggested to refrain from wearing ear buds to keep safe, especially near the river.
“It just cuts you off from other signals that might tell you something is not right,” Farnham said. “There’s a big difference between running or walking on the boulevard and adventuring along the river itself. It’s a very steep area with lots of loose dirt, fallen trees, rocks and things to trip on.”
Terese Quarberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.