New Haven PD: Woman accosted while running in Westville

WESTVILLE — Police are investigating after a woman said she was approached by a man while she was out for a late-night run Monday.

Police said they responded to a reported assault that had occurred near the Connecticut Tennis Center, adjacent to Yale Avenue and Route 34.

Police said the woman met with them at her Westville home and said she’d just been out for a late-night run.

“She believed she’d been on or near Yale Avenue, when she saw a man standing near a small white SUV (She’s not sure the SUV was involved or even his),” police said in a release.

The woman told police the man had a long handgun which she believed may have been a fake.

“She said he called to her, saying, “come with me,” police said.

The woman then told police the man grabbed her and covered her mouth with his hand.

“The victim struggled and broke free of her attacker’s hold,” police said.

Police said two residents on the 1800 Block of Chapel Street had called 911 to report a woman screaming around that same time but neither caller said they’d seen who’d been screaming.

Police said the woman wasn’t physically harmed or robbed.

Police have provided the following tips for a safe run, walk or bike ride:

  • If you must run after dark, know the neighborhood, where exactly you are and wear something highly visible.
  • Carry a personal alarm (a whistle or audible device of some type – such as the ‘runangel’).
  • If you must listen to music, use only one ear-bud (There are certain times and places when you need all of your senses to be alert in order to stay safe.).
  • Headlamps. Yes, I know they look dorky, but they also let cars and other pedestrians know where you are. Also, light reflective colors are a must.
  • Keep your phone on you BUT STAY OFF IT while running.
  • Consider using a run tracking app to share your location with others.
  • Let a friend or relative know when and where you’re going and when you expect to return.
  • Cary ID but unless you’re running to a fancy restaurant for dinner, leave other valuables and cash at home.
  • Run with others – (especially those a bit slower – it’ll keep you safer and boost your running confidence).