MATTHEWS, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The community is coming together to keep people safe while exercising after two women reported to police they were attacked in two separate incidents on walking trails in Matthews and Charlotte in less than a week.

The Matthews man who spearheaded the effort says it started because he didn’t want his wife and his two-year-old child to be alone on the trail.

“It kind of woke me up to, ‘Maybe it’s not the best idea for them to be running on the greenways by themselves,” said Anthony Allison, who lives near the Heritage Trail in Matthews.

Two avid runners, Allison and his wife, chose their own little runners’ paradise near the trail.

“The greenway wraps right behind our house; the proximity was perfect,” said Allison.

The couple just moved to the Sardis Woods neighborhood near the trail.

“We could go outside, hit the greenway, and go train,” said Allison.

But not anymore.

“She doesn’t want to run there. Period,” said Allison.

The family is frightened after learning that a woman told police she was sexually assaulted on the trail when she was walking Sunday morning just before 4 a.m.

“It’s disturbing to us. We want to bring a level of concern, not paranoia,” said Tim Aycock with the Matthews Police Department.

Matthews Police are not saying if they believe the sex assault was random, but they do not believe it is connected to an attempted sexual assault near McAlpine Creek Park last week in Charlotte.

“Something like this is a concern. Detectives are working diligently to get as much information as they can as soon as possible,” said Aycock.

Allison is getting to work too.

“It makes it seem like it’s a dangerous place to be,” said Allison.

He posted on social media, asking runners if they wanted to band together and meet up to exercise.

“I figured if we get a bunch of us together, we’ll be less of a target,” said Allison.

They’re taking back their trail.

“People can get back to their normal exercise schedule, hopefully.”

Matthews Police say they’re increasing patrols in the area, and they’ve also been knocking on doors, asking neighbors around Club View Lane to take a look at their surveillance cameras from overnight Sunday morning.

If you have anything that might be helpful to investigators, please get in touch with Matthews Police.