Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mugged on Michigan Avenue

Julia said...

Not really tied to this issue specifically, but Second City Cop had a post about getting mugged on Michigan Avenue (in Chicago). I can't manage to directly link to it, but it should be easy to find here:

It's an interesting perspective on the happenings in Chicago from the point of view of some of the police. This isn't a crime blog but does tend to feature a lot of the politics of the police in Chicago.

July 15, 2010 9:12 AM

Hi, that's a pretty good blog. This is the post:

Thursday, July 15, 2010
Mugged on Michigan Avenue
An eye opener - if you haven't been paying attention for the last few years:

* Here's what went down: I walked up to the bus stop at the corner of Michigan and Grand to take the 151 to my home in Lakeview. I sat down on the black metal railing that fences off one of the large flower gardens, put down my bag of groceries and pulled out my new iPhone to check my e-mail and send a text message to my wife letting her know I would be home soon.

The sidewalk was packed with tourists and shoppers, but I felt a strange energy when a kid, probably about 14, sat down close to me on my left while the guy he walked up with stood on my right. It just felt wrong.

Then, literally in a flash, the kid on my left grabbed my iPhone and tried to bolt. I had heard all of the warnings about people snatching iPhones and iPods, but because the street was so crowded I never thought it could happen there and then.

Did anyone who isn't reading here right now not see this one coming two years ago? Anyone? Bueller? We didn't think so. This is almost a daily occurrence nowadays.

Now imagine you're Bob or Suzie Yuppie without a newspaper column to bitch about being strong-armed in broad daylight on what is one of the top three pedestrian avenues in Chicago.

But here's the kicker - the writer, someone named John D. Thomas - even after getting attacked and knocked around and robbed, manages to get in a dig at police officers!

* I went after the two kids, still gripping the T-shirt I had torn off one of them. I saw them go east on Ohio Street and I booked it in hot pursuit. When I got to St. Clair, I didn't see them, but my lifetime of watching TV cop shows told me they had sprinted down a dark alley next to the Dunkin' Donuts.

Even though it is Shortshanks that has allowed the number of police on the streets to dwindle to the point where strong arm robbers feel little-to-no hesitation in mugging people in broad daylight on Michigan Avenue, John D. Thomas has to throw in the tired old saw about "Dunkin Donuts" and cop shows.

At least he didn't go with the "poor downtrodden under-privileged youth who don't know what they're doing and I probably deserved to have my personal property forcibly removed from my person" route. That would have been a bit too much.

Labels: crime

That happens here ALL the time. Cell phone snatching is almost a sport here.
Awareness guys, awareness. Dont just type it on the internet, actually practice it.
Today on the street, you could tell by looking around those that were looking for an easy vicitm, you just start noticing them after a while, if you bother looking.
I should write a post about this.



Anonymous said...

Very good post.

The snatching of the iphone seems a lot like what school children teasingly did to one another in my old school, the same game only there are prizes and greater risk resulting in a bigger thrill?

Those types of attacks can be hard to anticipate, detect and deflect, especially if you're not paying attention.

I imagine in Argentina it's less about the thrill and more about the prize?

"Today on the street, you could tell by looking around those that were looking for an easy victim, you just start noticing them after a while, if you bother looking."

Not having very many people around who are looking for an easy victim (in a violent crime or mugging category anyway) it's hard to know what to look for. Sorry you don't have that problem too. Things here could change quickly though.

I think I saw, "the look" once while visiting Chicago. Even while I was in a group and being twice her size I felt very vulnerable, maybe because I noticed no one else noticed her. I was actually surprised she didn't try to do anything, perhaps she was too?
In the end her expression was like I've seen when a dog realizes it just missed the last opportunity to take a bite out of a member of a flock and another isn't on its way - excited disappointment?

Feeling a bit like bait is why I never went back, the traffic and high costs for nothing special are the other two. Being from out of town I wouldn't want to go unarmed, mostly to be able to protect the people I'm with and who are in my charge, and when traveling it's easy to wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time in a way the locals wouldn't. I've never felt that way in my own city,... yet. I'm sure I could find a part of my city that I could feel that way, but I prefer not too, problem is, "it" will try to find me if (or is that when?) SHTF,... or maybe, just because?

parabarbarian said...

Second City Cop is a good blog if you want to see what it's like to live in a city full of disarmed victims.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of "mugging" that it is robbery by force or intimidation, not "grab and run." Correct me if I am wrong.

Anyway, when she lived in London, England, my fleabitten little Polish wife was walking down the street when some teenaged jackass grabbed her purse.

She actually chased the cretin down the street and tackled him while he was trying to escape by boarding a bus. You can imagine that the turd was quite indignant at being captured by my 5'2" tall wifelet.

Unfortunately, the wife wanted to press charges. Needless to say, although this particular robber had a couple of priors, he was let go after writing a "letter of apology." At this point, my wife was the one who was indignant.

Actually, don't even get me started on the neutered criminal justice system in England.

Bones said...

This isn't just a story about petty street crime, it's a snapshot of what's to come here in the US. With implementation of the Cloward-Piven strategy much farther along in Argentina than in the US, these little robberies (and the blustering of politicians who ultimately create them) merely foreshadow the coming reality that is already in effect in Argentina: An entitlement-minded underclass supporting a wannabe nanny state (wannabe, because will never be
anywhere near enough tax revenue to construct a real nanny state due to a fatally broken economy) and crushing the middle class between them, forever. 1984? Who needs totalitarian fascism when those made dependents of the regime can be counted on to do the dirty work of their elite patrons?

John F. Kennedy, who famously said "Ask not what your country can do for you but rather what you can do for your country" is rolling in his grave at the antics of the modern Democratic party.

Patrick said...

He should be happy he wasn't robbed at gun or knifepoint. Yankees, sheesh...

Weaseldog said...

I carry a laptop with me on the trains in Dallas. I know people who've been robbed, so far, I've only had one close call.

What I noticed from several of those people, is that they tend to act like they have no self confidence. They have trouble making eye contact. They won't even look the cops in the eye when giving their report.

Only one person I know with self confidence, was successfully robbed. Two teens pointed handguns at him.

I do have a bad habit of napping on the train. And I probably should break it. But when I do, wrap the strap of my laptop around my arm and hug it close or place it inside the seat near the window.

In my one experience, my eyes were closed and I had a predatory sensation. A young men was just starting to lean in over my seat. I sat up and stared back at him and he jumped back. I looked around for signs of an accomplice and didn't see the customary fidgeting so I assumed he was alone. I stared at him until he hid at the front of the train behind the railing. He wouldn't maintain eye contact with me. He got off at the next stop as the transit police got on.

When I first realized he was beginning to lean over me, I was seeing him as a target. A few inches closer and I would've clocked him. Those years of kickboxing so long ago, felt alive in me for a moment. A part of me was gauging the distance and timing.

Ferfal has been recommending martial arts training for years. I recommend it also. It will change your attitude. It will change the way people see you.

And now I need to think about actually changing my habits a bit.

Don Williams said...

Instead of paying trainers to spar with him, I think Ferfal should get a diamond-encrusted G-Shock to wear around Buenos Aires:

Here kitty, kitty ... :)

Anonymous said...

Another interesting blog you might like:

Today's reminded me of what you said about Argentinian politics:


Krzysztof said...

As Anonymous wrote about his brave polish wife- another story from Poland (where I live) When I was going to my bar exam- with laptop- and very precious data in it (just pass or not), I had to stay a while at bus station (really unsafe place in Poland) in some crime infested city. I have seen group of 7-8 young man just feeling safe and looking for things to steal. With my laptop bag I was an obvious victim- and I knew of it. I was just watching them- and when two was aproaching I sudennly turned around- and they just missed with a knife my bag. It's not the end- three of them get the same bus and inside they was looking at me all the time. So I pretended to get out before my stop at very remote and dark place- those three quickly got up from thiers' seats and were so happy that they even didn't notice that I let them go out first- and then I sat down, driver closed the door and I saved my exam. But the viev of three criminalists walking few kilometers without reward was really pricelles. Of course- I can proof nothing to the Police- so I did nothing as a legal action
Conclusion- never get your laptop to laptop bag if you are going to risky area, watch a people aroud you and think. I was realy capable to cope with any one of them- maybe even two- but not three, an I will for sure lost my bag. So I live in quite similar country- most things seems to me just normal (except guns- it's nearly a total gun prohibition in Poland)- so really main problems in hard times are safety and food

Anonymous said...

I have lots of stories from England too. Lived near a university- alot of girls walking and talking on the cell phone not paying attention would get robbed of their phones. One robbery was a group of 11-12 years olds hit the girl over the head with a cobblestone and stole her phone that way. Police protection was non-existent in England when I was there 10 years ago. Don't know if it is the same now. I called it 'Mad Max with electricity' living over there.

Julia said...

Second City Cop: The best part of the blog are the commments!

Anonymous said...

"Second City Cop is a good blog if you want to see what it's like to live in a city full of disarmed victims."

The latest post is about an armed, in uniform, police officer who was shot dead during a robbery of his new car. I guess it shows being armed is no panacea.

Steve said...

I looked up a picture of the guy who wrote the initial article, John D. Thomas. He looks like a kind of a bitch- and this speaks to the importance of NOT looking like a mark.

This guy has "mark" written all over him.