It’s crime season again on the ATT!

As always, during the warmer months, trail usage picks up, and with it so does the crime.WRAL reports that there are three victims of attacks over the past week; this is following an apparent homicide on one of the ATT spur trails last month.

Maybe the most disturbing part of the latest trend is that these thugs aren’t just looking for money, they’re out for lolz, beating the crap out of unsuspecting citizens just because they think it’s funny:

On Thursday, a man told police he was riding his bike south on the trail from Otis Street about 12:30 p.m. when a teen punched him in the face and knocked him off his bicycle. The teen said nothing and didn’t try to rob him.

This sounds like what’s known as “the knockout game” (which is also, as wikipedia helpfully informs me, called “polar-bear hunting” when referring to white victims). The game is played by finding an unsuspecting citizen and then beating them up, which doesn’t sound so much like “playing a game” as it sounds like “being a sociopath.”

In its continued ineptitude with respect to managing safety on the trail, the city hasn’t done anything of note to address such crime problems since I first wrote about the issue last summer.

I’ve got a few pieces of advice for anybody looking to use the ATT:

  1. Avoid the trail between Elmira Park and Otis Street. Almost every instance of assault or homicide is within a mile of this very specific area. I’ve never even seen a cop on this stretch (maybe they’re scared, too?), and from my perspective you’re better off fighting traffic than thugs.
  2. If you really feel like taking your life in your own hands and decide to ride through that area, for the love of god take a gopro with you (well concealed) so you can catch your attackers on camera.
  3. Citizens can’t legally take firearms on the trail without a concealed carry license, but there’s nothing that says you can’t take a bicycle lock, and I reckon the right lock might come in handy in a pinch. I swap out my U-lock for one of these guys whenever I have to head that way:
  4. Write to the city council and tell them to actually do something tangible about this shameful state of affairs.

6 thoughts on “It’s crime season again on the ATT!

  1. As a lover of the ATT and a woman who would love to feel safe riding alone, I hate to see this. Only thing I want to toss in is that I’ve seen officers around this stretch many times over the years – patrol car right by Otis St crossing and bike patrol on the trail around there. Not enough, obviously, but just tossing in that I don’t think they’re avoiding it. They could also use more of the nifty solar-powered emergency phones along the downtown stretch of the trail. Your go pro idea is a good one. I’m also going to get a kuboton and pepper spray for my whistle lanyard.

    • I wanted to say the same thing. I’ve seen police on the trail right by there multiple times. Probably more there than anywhere else, so I think they acknowledge that it’s a problem area.

      • Ya’ll probably know better than I do, since I don’t commute through there (and indeed specifically avoid that part of the trail as much as possible), but I’ve ridden through there a reasonable number of times and never seen any LEOs about. Especially if you get stuck out there near dusk it can get downright scary.

        It’s good to know the DPD is around, but it doesn’t seem like they’re *enough* around.

      • True enough, and I don’t ride near dusk, ever. I also don’t ride alone the way I used to, except on gorgeous weekend days when I know there will be tons of people. There have been a couple of times I felt uneasy even riding with my husband with pods of young men walking that part of the trail.

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