Attacks on Women on the Thames towpath and running safely in general

There have been some recent incidents where a man has tried to grab people near the river in Barnes/Kew/Twickenham. Details of the police press release + some advice on running safely are included in "Read More".

Police Press Release:

Local police are reminding residents to be vigilant, and be aware of their surrounding after reports that a man has attempted to grab several people near the river in Twickenham, Kew and Barnes.
DI John Freeman of Richmond upon Thames CID said, “We are asking residents − particularly women − to be very vigilant when out. Be aware of your surroundings and who is around you. It’s advisable to do this in any case but these incidents are an extra reminder to show caution.
In the first two incidents a man grabbed the victims from behind. Both were able to free themselves and run off. In the third incident, a man jumped out from a bush and tried but failed to grab a woman who was wearing headphones while jogging. The man is described as being white, aged between 25 and 35, around 6ft tall, with short hair.
If you are approached by someone who you are suspicious of, do not engage them in any way. Quickly move to a safe place, somewhere where there are other people around, and call the police.”
For emergencies, call 999. For non-emergencies call 0300 123 1212.
Anyone with information relating to the incidents described should call Richmond upon Thames CID on 020 8247 7032.
Notice Dated: Thursday 7 July 2011
Submitted by: SW15 Notices
 
Advice on Running Safely:
Women Running Alone
 
Although for most of the time women are relatively safe when running on their own, this doesn’t mean that we can ignore potential danger. There have been incidents in the past and unfortunately there will be incidents in the future where lone women are the targets of attack. Unfortunately, recent news (June 2011) of attacks on lone women along the towpath at Twickenham, Kew and Barnes highlights the need for extra vigilance.
 
Women should not feel too afraid to go out alone but  can take precautions. For instance, when alone, consider not wearing headphones or chatting on your mobile especially when in more enclosed spaces. Your awareness of other sounds and what is happening around you is reduced. Enjoy your running but be more alert when on your own.