BE ALERT AND AWARE -May 17, 2022
We are asking our park users to always be on alert, aware and use caution, especially those who enjoy our trails solo. This assault occurred along the multi-use trail at the Six Mile Run Reservoir Site in Somerset. This well-used trail system located near Blackwells Mills and Canal Roads in Franklin Township is used by off-road bikers and hikers alike. Anyone with information about this assault please contact the police as described below and detailed in the article linked here.
The victim reported to authorities that the unknown male suspect was on a bicycle when he dismounted and tackled her to the ground while she was running on the trail. The victim fought with the male suspect, escaped from the assault and immediately notified authorities by dialing 911. The suspect is said to have fled the area on a bicycle. The victim was transported to an area hospital for treatment and released.
The suspect is described as a Hispanic man about 5-foot 6-inches to 5-foot 7-inches tall, heavier build, about mid 30's, wearing black pants or shorts, a green hoodie, and a blue gator face covering. (see the released sketch of the suspect). Detectives are attempting to determine if the suspect involved in this recent incident is the same actor involved in previously reported attacks in Somerset and Middlesex Counties.
The investigation is active and continuing. Anyone with information relating to the sexual assault or surveillance footage of the area is asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Sex Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 908-873-5533 or via the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.
Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential. Tips may also be submitted to www.middlesextips.com
We ask the public to be vigilant and always aware when enjoying the many trails available at the D&R Canal State Park. Your safety is paramount! The New Jersey State Park Police is coordinating with the Middlesex County Prosecutor has stepped up patrols in the park.
In an effort to educate and empower our park visitors we are sharing some basic steps and tips below that should be followed every day when out and about at the park and elsewhere. These will help you to stay alert, increase awareness of your surroundings, be present and stay safe. And of course report anything suspicious or concerning to the proper authorities.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your head up while walking and walk with a purpose. Pay attention visually to the actions and behaviors of those who are walking around.
- Trust your instincts.
- Be ready to take defensive action if necessary. This could be as simple as crossing the street and entering a populated area.
- Walk or jog in groups of two or more.
- Avoid isolated or dark areas.
- Travel with confidence and purpose.
- Limit headphones while walking or jogging.
- Know the locations of emergency phones.
- Do not use ATMs at night, in poorly lit or remote areas.
- Stay alert, and ahead of "What if...?"
- Report suspicious actvity or persons to the police immediately by calling 911.
PROPERTY & VEHICLE SECURITY
- Take your valuables (laptops, cell phones, MP3 players, etc) with you. Do not leave them unattended when you leave for "just a minute", even for a restroom break. This is the single best deterrent to intruders.
- Conceal or hide power cords from cell phones, iPods & GPS units when left unattended within your vehicle.
- Lock your vehicle.
- Anti-theft devices such as the "Club" and car alarms may deter a thief from burglarizing or stealing your vehicle.
- Do not hide spare keys under your car.
- Record serial numbers of bicycles, computers or other electronics, and keep these numbers in a safe place, separate from the devices. In the event these devices are lost or stolen, these serial numbers may assist the Police with locating your property.