Santa Barbara, Calif. – 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, 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.