Recent Attack on Trail Has Some Calling for Changes
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A reported sexual assault on Kansas City’s Trolley Trail is renewing safety concerns. Since 2011, three women have been attacked along a stretch of trail near 85th & Troost. Now, people are asking if more can be done to make it safer.
the most recent attack happened when a man jumped out from behind a retaining wall near 85th & Troost and sexually assaulted a woman. Police say she successfully fought the man off and police later arrested a man matching the suspect’s description. Still, the outdoor advocacy group Bike-Walk KC says the Area Transit Authority, or ATA, who owns the trail should consider making changes.
“In other cities there are certainly places where they put in emergency phones for cases like, where it is a little more remote where it’s not easy to get to a place of business in a quick amount of time,” said Eric Bunch with Bike-Walk KC. “We certainly would encourage construction of safety phones out there.”
A spokeswoman for the ATA declined to comment but Cindy Baker said, “Safety improvements like installing security cameras have been looked at extensively and found to be cost prohibitive.”
Baker says the ATA does try to trim trees and remove obstacles that pose safety hazards on the trail. Bike-Walk KC says women should carry cell phones or pepper spray while on the trail and consider walking, riding or running with a friend.
“The more people who are using it, the more eyes that are out there on the grounds the less likely this is going to happen. Get out there and use it. That’s our best defense — is having more and more people out there,” said Eric Bunch with Bike-Walk KC. “Get out and use our fantastic trail. Enjoy it, but again take some precautions as well.”
Those precautions include letting someone know whenever you’re planning to be on the trail so if you don’t return, others know where to start looking.
In the two incidents in 2011, prosecutors charged one man, James Kemp with sodomy, kidnapping and robbery.
No charges have been filed in the current attack.
Click here for more information on Bike-Walk KC.