The first training session for people interested in monitoring the Schuylkill River Trail to improve safety is set for later this month.

The Schuylkill River Trail Watch is being formed in response to occasional spikes of crime on the popular path for runners, walkers and cyclists.

Organizers say the first training session for those interested in joining will take place April 27. Spots are limited; people can sign up or get more information at

The initiative is backed by the running group Run215, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson's office, Philadelphia police, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, and numerous other city agencies and advocacy groups.

Officials are hoping alert and trained users can help improve safety conditions on the trail, where reports of assaults, harassment, and robberies have caused alarm since last fall.

New trail markers are also being installed so people who need assistance can better report where they are located.