GREENVILLE, S.C.–Spend just a little while on nearly any part of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and you’ll encounter bikers, runners, and walkers.
“When you get a little bit farther down the trail some of these little trail sections, they’re real wooded and there’s nothing around it,” said Richard Dunlavy who walks the trail often.
And since an assault on the trail last week you’re likely to see more police activity on the trail.
Greenville Police have upped patrols on the trail in light of the attack. However, many people still take safety into their own hands.
“I try to stay aware of my surroundings while I’m out here and when people pass me by I’m always looking over my shoulder,” said Dunlavy.
Many making sure they never walk alone and don’t get distracted by phones or music.
“That gives a moment for someone to attack you. If they’re going to do it,” said David Owens who also walks the trail.
Those helping to develop the new section of the trail say they’re building safety into their plans.
“What makes them safer are frequent access and population that uses it,” said Craig Lewis, a consultant on the project.
He says when more people use the trail it makes it safer.
“Get people in close proximity and generate a demand for fun things to go to and that also helps to self police the area,” said Lewis.
So they’re designing more access points and amenities along the way. But, he says, incidents like last week’s are rare.
“Generally speaking urban trails are incredibly safe,” said Lewis.
Even so, one attack is enough to put some trail users on edge.
“You know it really made me think about hey who’s out here where can I go what can I do if something like that were to happen to me,” said Dunlavy.
Some users say security cameras along the trail would be a big benefit, but a county spokesperson tells me cameras were never a viable option for the trail.