Winnipeg police are asking the public to take precautions after a number of recent assaults on women and girls along the Red River trail system.
On Sunday, police were called about a teenage girl who had been seriously sexually assaulted around 3:45 a.m. while walking along the river trail behind Churchill High School.
Less than three hours later, a woman in her 20s was jogging along the river trail near Harkness Avenue, when a man came up from the riverbank, grabbed her from behind, and pulled her to the ground, police said.
The victim in this case was able to escape.
Police said a similar incident happened on June 12 at Cockburn Street and Churchill Drive, and that several incidents have taken place at various points along the west Red River trail system between April and August. In each case, the victims were women and girls from 15 years old to their late 30s.
In each case, they were grabbed from behind, pulled to the ground and threatened with a weapon, usually from the early evening to early morning hours.
Police said they’re unable to definitively link all of the incidents, but they’re cautioning the public to walk or run along the trails with a partner whenever possible, avoid running or walking in the dark or on poorly-lit paths, carry a cellphone or personal alarm, and run without headphones.
“Right now, we can’t tell you that the trail system is safe,” said Cst. Rob Carver of the Winnipeg Police Service. “And if you’re not running in groups or doing some of those other things, you should really pick a different area at this point.”
Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the sex crimes unit at 204-986-6245 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).