Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

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Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails
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Source: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind hikers to consider personal safety precautions before they head out for a hike. The Sheriff’s Office has recently taken two separate reports for sex crimes that occurred on rural hiking trails in Santa Barbara County. On October 11, 2020, a suspect accosted a female and threatened to sexually assault her on the Baron Ranch Trail. In another case, a victim was sexually assault on November 8, 2020 on the Aliso Trail. Both offenses involved a female victim and a male suspect, although it is unclear if the suspect in both cases is the same. Both of these incidents occurred on rural hiking trails that had very few fellow hikers. These investigations are ongoing and anyone with information is encouraged to call Sheriff’s Detectives at (805)681-4150 or provide an anonymous tip on our website.

As detectives continue investigating these cases and as we head into a holiday weekend, we would like to share the following safety considerations for those who plan on hiking:

·      Hike with a companion, preferably from your household to be COVID safe.

·      Complete a trip plan that details where you will be walking or hiking, your contact information, when you plan to arrive and return, and who is coming with you. Leave this information with a trusted friend or family member that is not going on the trip with you.

·      Begin your hike with enough time to make it back before the sun sets

·      Have a way to communicate. Do not rely on your cell phone because there may not be cellular coverage and reception. Consider having a personal locator beacon, should you need to call for help. If you are using your cell phone, keep the battery fully charged. Searching for a cell signal can quickly drain your phone battery, so consider turning off your phone or switching to airplane mode until you need it.

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Sail380 Nov 28, 2020 10:52 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Thank you BASICINFO805 for showing everyone there is so much open public space that much of it goes unknown and under used. If you really want to know about the local hiking opportunity's there are several websites. Google is your friend, use your own fingers and search, then let us know what you find.

Sail380 Nov 28, 2020 05:30 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

I agree 100% with you BASICINF805. That's why you should research it and post the information for everyone else that cant google what there looking for. Some of these lesser known trails are part of a conservation agreement some are government owned and even some great hiking on private property.

Ill help you get started. Midland School has a great network of hiking trails.

Sail380 Nov 28, 2020 06:01 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

I do get it.. Some can tale care of themselves and others need or want someone to take care of them.
Similar to difference in those that want Socialism or Freedom.

Anyway Be safe and aware of your surroundings wherever you are. This was in a less populated area but it happens everywhere!!!

Basicinfo805 Nov 28, 2020 07:27 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

SAIL380 : Huh? Please explain "some can tale (take) care of themselves and others need or want someone to take care of them" statement in this context, Wow! We're all waiting....

Freedom = free to be assaulted??

ZeroHawk Nov 30, 2020 09:05 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Basicinfo, you claim you have spent a lot of time in our backcountry and don't know one of the most populated hiking trails on the backside of the slope?? I question if you have even been over there then. Aliso trail is very popular, i've been hiking it since 1986. It's well marked, signed and a lot of websites talk about it...Santa Ynez river valley, drive up Gibralter, go down back side...you'll see it, as well as many other trails and camp sites and hot springs.

ZeroHawk Nov 30, 2020 09:07 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Sail, these aren't lesser known trails. These are very heavily travelled local trails and there are loads of websites that discuss them. Aliso is one of the most populated trails I've ever hiked on (in fact i was on it sunday with my dog), Cold Springs and Romero would come in place with Aliso as far as usage.

ZeroHawk Nov 30, 2020 09:11 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Basicinfo, i have a feeling you're just an arm chair warrior....you claim to be an avid hiker and know the trail system, but don't know one of the most populated trails, then you just foolishly pick on other comments. Yes, most of us are big boys and girls and can take care of ourselves. Sometimes there are bad people out there and they wish to harm others. I never hike without my dye tinted grizzly bear mace, a knife, a whistle, and my belgian malinois dog. Be prepared. Aside of bad guys out there, there are snakes, mountain lions, bears. All sorts of possibilities. "Freedom = free to be assaulted??" <--what on earth is wrong with you? talk about taking something out of context.

EastBeach Nov 27, 2020 08:51 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Those two trails aren't near each other (Gaviota vs. Paradise Rd). Aliso is near the Sage Hill ranger station. I carry pepper spray but it's more for the unlikely encounter with a mountain lion on remote trails (though one has been lurking around Inspiration Point which is more urban interface).

SBgal74 Nov 27, 2020 10:14 PM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

Where are the descriptions of the suspect/suspects so citizens can be on the look out? I think it’s a disservice to report this without more specific details. Perhaps not the fault of Edhat but rather a lack of information coming from the police?

PitMix Nov 30, 2020 10:15 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

My guess is that they thought publicizing it would make it harder to catch the person. Now that it is out in public, that person might move their attacks to other trails farther away from SB. Not every decision by a government employee indicates incompetence.

pstarSR Nov 30, 2020 10:23 AM
Sheriff's Office Investigating Sexual Assaults on Hiking Trails

why do you think they are hiding anything, the descriptions could be different and or not the same person over multiple assaults. so what do you want them to say other than "male suspect", "it is unclear if it is the same suspect in both cases". so they cant specify a description.

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