Trail Safety in Question after Sexual Assault

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It only took Bentonville Police one day to track down and arrest Brian Snyder for sexual assault charges. 

Many people say they are in shock something like this happened in their city. It only takes one incident for people to go on high alert.

“My wife, my daughter, my son use it for hiking purposes, running purposes,” said Thomas Dixon, who lives in Bentonville.

Like many Northwest Arkansans, Thomas Dixon loves hitting the pavement. But a recent sexual assault on the Razorback Greenway has him thinking about his favorite trails in a new light.

“My first thought was my 19-year old daughter,” Dixon said. “It makes me, of course, think about her and my wife, but it also makes me want to keep my eyes open to suspicious people out here.” 

David Wright, the Director of the Bentonville Parks and Recreation Department, says that whenever they are considering new parks or trails, they keep your public safety in mind at all times.

“We always talk about that, and you try to get as much involvement in those designs as you possibly can,” Wright said.

Whether it’s nearby shelters or consistent police patrol, Bentonville Parks and Rec wants you to feel safe. Even so, its best to remain on guard at all times.

There is a rule of thumb if you are out on a trail and you begin feeling uncomfortable. Just get away and make sure you contact the authorities.

“Always be aware of your surroundings, always know whats going on. And if something doesn’t look right, report it. Even if you’re wrong, we rather you be wrong and report it than being right and your intuition being correct,” Wright said.

Others are leaving nothing up to chance. Tony Mathers teaches his children that the best defense is self-defense.

“Attacks don’t have to happen at 3 a.m. in a dark alley. Predators are not nocturnal,” said Mathers, who teaches Jiu-Jitsu classes in Bentonville. “I want them to know that it does happen, it is possible, and they need to know what to do when it happens.”

With approximately 30,000 people using the Razorback Greenway per month, it’s safe to say there will always be a lot of eyes open for suspicious activity.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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