HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department is warning runners and walkers about a man exposing himself on the Long Leaf Trace.
Lt. Jon Traxler said the department received a call on Tuesday from a woman while she was running on her lunch break.
"We got a call around 12 o'clock yesterday from an individual who said that while she was exercising on the Trace, she passed a subject close to 38th and 4th that was exposing himself in a way that was offensive to her," Traxler said. "She was able to catch up with somebody and finish on up to the Gateway. That's when she called police. Hattiesburg police and University of Southern Mississippi Police responded, and we did speak with her."
Julie Sumrall, the woman who called police, said she runs there often and wanted to warn others.
"I just wanted to let y'all know – be careful and lesson learned - run with a buddy," Sumrall said in a Facebook post.
"Whether they're on The Trace, whether they're just in a neighborhood right around their house, just use caution. Be mindful of your surroundings, and always have a buddy if you're able to," Traxler said.
Traxler also had other tips to prevent a similar situation for others exercising on the Trace.
"Safety is what we're asking the citizen to mindful of. If it gets dark, (it's) time to stop, especially if you're by yourself," he said.
Other running safety tips include:
- Carry some kind of flashlight with you.
- Carry your cell phone with you
- Make sure you have a way of contacting the police if you need them.
- Make sure a family member, somebody, knows where your track is going to be
All runners should be off the the Trace by 10 p.m.
If you do have a problem or see a situation while out exercising, Traxler said do not hesitate to call police.
"First thing is, of course, don't stop. Get a good description in your mind, and dial 911," Traxler said. "We would rather get that call, check it out and there be nothing going on or a misunderstanding, whatever it was, than not get the call and that may be the person we're looking for for something else."
Traxler said they have not had any other reports recently, but did have two similar incidents in 2014.