I've noted some YouTube hikers that have run into a person they thought was potentially dangerous. Some call the police/park rangers and others hike on. We need to take care of each other and report it not only to authorities but to the ATC so they can share down the line: https://appalachiantrail.org/explore/plan-and-prepare/report-an-incident/
Well, for one thing, most in the wild seek solitude and the crime rate is quite low. you may have a problem when near urban areas, like many spots on the AT. For another, if you are in trouble, simply carry a PLB- that will get a response.
This thread started because of two incidents, apparently reported via U Tube, well after the fact, with very little information. I doubt that they constitute a crime wave. Apparently in the one case (a creepy guy bothering a woman) there was a response. More info would be nice.
In most cases, you will be somewhat distant from those who are able to help you and the response time will almost always be more than an hour. You must plan to be self sufficient and take the lead in solving the problem, which will probably not be criminal in nature. Carry the ten essentials, learn first aid, and learn of likely hazards before you visit an area. Pay attention to the weather report.
After 40 years in the NPS, I have a fairly low opinion of the value of radios, even the fairly decent ones just in Gov't service. Hikermor's law - "the more urgent the situation, the less likely you will be able to communicate." Demonstrated many times, and there have been exceptions, but I would not rely on radios as my primary solution. It is up to you. Isn't that why we head into the wilderness?
@hikermor First off, thank you for taking the time to write a thorough response, I really appreciate it. To be honest, I had a feeling that you were going to say what you did about radios. FM is line of sight, and AM options like CB that follow terrain a bit are low power. I enjoy remote wilderness for sure, and I understand the risks when I go there with a team or on my own. However, with the AT and its proximity to the urban/wildland interface, I like the idea of folks being able to give a heads up to others if there is someone to be wary of near a campground, etc. If it is not practicable because of radio limitations then that is that.