Police: Reports of Teens on Bikes Groping Women

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A daily run or walk took a violent turn for some local women. Police said they have received multiple reports of teens on bikes groping women.

Now, there’s concern over just how safe is it for joggers or walkers in places like the Schuylkill River Trail. FOX 29 has learned police has stepped up patrols.

One of the two latest attacks happened Sunday afternoon at 15th and Market.  Police say a 19-year-old woman was harassed by another group of boys on bikes, 12 to 15 years old, who slapped on her buttocks, then assaulted her when she tried to call police.

What had been an ongoing problem for months, contained along the Schuylkill River trail seems no to be more widespread.

Growing concern led to this city hall roundtable where park and neighborhood leaders, police and city council member Kenyatta Johnson teamed up to brainstorm.

“If my wife called me and told me some young person touched her on her buttocks, you would probably see a different type of council person” said Johnson.

Police learned of the assaults on Facebook months ago. Postings on a group page called Run 215 for local runners put out the warning.

“It was one report that said that a woman had been harassed on the Schuylkill River Trail and kind of what that did is opened up the floodgates where a lot more people started to comment that they had similar issues,” said Facebook group administrator Jon Lyons.

The end of one incident was caught on cell phone by a passerby. It shows a group of teen boys smacking a woman's buttocks on Kelly Drive.

Police urge anyone who's victimized to report it. Some runners have said they didn't  report it because they weren't even sure where they were.

Among the ideas at this roundtable is adding mile markers, possibly cameras and emergency call boxes. 

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