On Friday evening, a man tried to steal my phone on the 14, ripped it out of my hands and ran off the bus. In some fit of animal instinct, I ran after him off the bus, fought him, and got it back. I will spare you most of the details here, but if you want to read my full account of it, redirect yourself here.
Here some quick thoughts:
- Be vigilant, obviously. Keep aware of your surroundings, and avoid using your smartphone or tablet on public transportation, especially if you’re sitting near a door. I know that this is a big fat DOY but it’s also easy to forget.
- If you must use your device, look around you and take note of who is around you. I am not asking you to profile anyone. Just be aware and remember faces.
- If you see a person in distress, do something. I understand the impulse to ignore what is going on and not be nosy, to stay safe. But I am a 26-year-old woman barely over 100 pounds and I was screaming and fighting a man twice my size who had struck me in the face and thrown me to the ground, and between the 20 or so witnesses on the sidewalk and nearby, none intervened until it was over. Apparently, several people thought it was a domestic dispute, and thought, “wow, what an odd couple.” No.
- I am not implying that what I did was the smartest or best thing to do, but I had no time to think and adrenaline is one hell of a drug. This worked out in my favor, but it could have gone terribly wrong.
- If you are a victim of a crime, file a police report. If you are hurt, tell the paramedics and police everything. Shock can delay physical pain until later, and later might be too late for anyone to be held accountable. I was tempted to just get on with my day and get to whatever I was trying to go to, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
- I don’t care how much you resent the new “techies” moving into the neighborhood, but this kind of crime (or any other kind of crime) is not justified. I do not work at a startup or tech company (and it really shouldn’t matter if I did), and I certainly don’t have the paycheck or means to justify buying a new phone if mine was stolen.
- It is easy to forget that this neighborhood can still be a rough one, despite the price tag and all of the big white shuttles. Carry pepper spray, choose well-trafficked paths, don’t walk alone at night, etc. etc.
I don’t know what became of the mugger, and I’d like to think that my altercation with taught him a lesson and scared him enough to lay low for awhile (or, optimistically, to retire from mugging!), but the reality is that he is still out there and he may strike again. Stay safe, everyone.