Riding the El Safely.

jmminarik's picture

It never fails to amaze me how we tend to let our guard down. Coming home tonight a young(ish) woman was sitting on the El near the 1 person 'handicapped' spot as we pulled into 11th street. She was listening to her iPod tuned out from the world, I was standing in the SG side exit area, just behind the divider where the handicapped seat is.

I didn't see the snatch, but I did see the run. Unfortunately, the way the kid who stole her iPod right off the top of her purse, it looked like one of those 'tap on the shoulder, heya, gotta run' sorta hellos you give people you know when you're in a rush. I was busy looking to see who was getting on, so just saw the gross motion in my (poor, male) peripheral vision.

Anyway, after the kid got off the el, she calmly (resignedly) took out her ear buds and confirmed to the woman across from her the kid just stole her iPod. I suppose it was caused by shock, but a simple 'Hey!' in a alarmed (not a friendly) way probably would have kept her her iPod. The odd motion already had me leaning forward and the punk had to stutter stop on the way out because people getting on. There was a second when i was ready to check him into the divider (for no other reason than the motion triggered a defensive response in me) but the victim just sat there not saying anything.

So, more out of frustration than any expectation that anyone here needs unsolicited advice, I'd thought I'd point out that 1) pay attention and keep hold of your belongings on public transit and 2) scream bloody murder if you are victimized.

The young(ish) woman did get off the El at 8th street to call 911 and report the crime. well, supposedly she was. She didn't want to but the women sitting around her kept telling her to "else they'll never put enough cops on the el".

Anyway, be careful out there.

tudor's picture

jmminarik wrote:The

jmminarik wrote:

The young(ish) woman did get off the El at 8th street to call 911 and report the crime. well, supposedly she was. She didn't want to but the women sitting around her kept telling her to "else they'll never put enough cops on the el".

Good for them--another thing to remember to do when shit happens: get the victim to report it.

codergrrl's picture

I am constantly amazed at

I am constantly amazed at how oblivious people seem to be.
As a nightcrawler, I won't even wear a hood, as it prohibits my peripheral vision, and the thought of listening to anything, except straining to hear if there are any footsteps behind me, is verboten.
Pay attention to your surroundings people!

lauraska's picture

While I agree that we all

While I agree that we all need to be vigilant about our own safety, and the safe-keeping of our belongings, this sounds all too much like what our community officer at the 26th tells us at EKNA meetings. She says that our cars wouldn't be broken into if we didn't leave stuff in them, that our houses wouldn't be robbed if we didn't leave the back window on the second floor open. The girl that Joe is describing definitely seems pretty oblivious, but I hesitate to blame the victim. The real problem is that the police in this city are a total joke...there aren't enough of them, their morale is so low that they usually don't do much unless there's a weapon involved, and the scum of the city have no fear of them because they know the police won't do anything. I read this story and was more amazed by the brazenness of the thief than the cluelessness of the victim.

1801's picture

lauraska wrote: The real

lauraska wrote:

The real problem is that the police in this city are a total joke...there aren't enough of them, their morale is so low that they usually don't do much unless there's a weapon involved, and the scum of the city have no fear of them because they know the police won't do anything. I read this story and was more amazed by the brazenness of the thief than the cluelessness of the victim.

good thing you didnt generalize the entire 7000 person police department with this quote.

lauraska's picture

1801 wrote:lauraska wrote:

1801 wrote:
lauraska wrote:

The real problem is that the police in this city are a total joke...there aren't enough of them, their morale is so low that they usually don't do much unless there's a weapon involved, and the scum of the city have no fear of them because they know the police won't do anything. I read this story and was more amazed by the brazenness of the thief than the cluelessness of the victim.

good thing you didnt generalize the entire 7000 person police department with this quote.

Did you read what I wrote?? I said that there aren't enough of them and that they have low morale. I wasn't saying they were bad people. The police department is woefully underfunded, and as employees, the police in this city are not treated very well. Overtime is constantly being cut or not paid at all, they are forced to patrol with too few cars, so that they have to prioritize calls to the point that they can almost ONLY take the ones where there is extreme violence. If I had to deal with that every day, I might be a little tee'd off, too. So before you go around generalizing about ME, perhaps you should read my posts.

stilljes's picture

I gotta say that I stopped

I gotta say that I stopped using my ipod when walking around or riding the el since that poor kid was murdered in Bella Vista last year. It's just makes you too much of a target, not to mention it cuts off your hearing and limits your ability to react and defend yourself.

The pleasure of grooving out while walking or sitting on the el is not worth the risk.

jessv's picture

calling the police a joke is

calling the police a joke is definitely a generalization, as far as i'm to understand the word.

and honestly, i'd RATHER have them go after someone with a weapon than someone who takes advantage of an oblivious person and takes their ipod.

victims are generally not at fault, but there is something to be said for not making it easy for criminals to target you. if i leave a pile of money and whatnot on the seat of my car, no one has the right to take it - but it's foolish to think that's not a temptation! i won't even leave CHANGE visible in my car, let alone anything worthwhile.

lauraska's picture

What I meant to imply was

What I meant to imply was that they are a joke to the criminals who consistently defy the law, which I thought was made clear by the rest of my post. I'm not saying that we shouldn't protect ourselves or be aware of our surroundings, but until law enforcement becomes a force to be reckoned with in this town, people are going to continue committing crimes, no matter how big or small the temptation, because they know that they will get away with it. Sure, a dude stabbing someone with a knife should take priority over an oblivious girl's ipod being stolen, but I feel like I say this ad nauseum, here...if we do not start cracking down on quality of life crimes, AS WELL AS violent crime, we will go nowhere when it comes to making this city safer. Quite honestly, people should be a little afraid of the police...not terrified...but a little afraid...and from my perspective, the criminals in this city have absolutely no fear.

teener's picture

I tend to be of the mindset

I tend to be of the mindset that the criminals always act like they have no fear, but generally the most fearful people are the ones that pretend not to be.

That being said, I do wish our judges and law enforcement could work together to be tougher on crime. ALOT TOUGHER.

Be safe out, be observant, and know what you are up against.

Ftown66's picture

When i rode septa for many

When i rode septa for many years i used to always carry a knife. I used to come home from work in the early morning hours like 2 and 3 am And felt unsafe many of times on there.

codergrrl's picture

I honestly feel SEPTA is

I honestly feel SEPTA is alot safer now than when I was a kid.
During the seventies, we'd take the el out to Darby to go to the Tower for shows all the time, and there were (seriously) packs of wild thugs who would just go from train to train robbing people...we alway knew not to wear jewelery, wear jeans for the pockets, don't carry a purse,but your money and tickets in your bra, etc.
These were the days of all night train service, but nobody in the booths at the stations...the doors just would be open. Literally a wide open ghost town.
The same goes for the subway...its 100% better than it used to be.

dan's picture

Yes, SEPTA safety is much

Yes, SEPTA safety is much improved over the 70s.

It's still wise to be safe.

jessv's picture

lauraska wrote:What I meant

lauraska wrote:

What I meant to imply was that they are a joke to the criminals who consistently defy the law, which I thought was made clear by the rest of my post. I'm not saying that we shouldn't protect ourselves or be aware of our surroundings, but until law enforcement becomes a force to be reckoned with in this town, people are going to continue committing crimes, no matter how big or small the temptation, because they know that they will get away with it. Sure, a dude stabbing someone with a knife should take priority over an oblivious girl's ipod being stolen, but I feel like I say this ad nauseum, here...if we do not start cracking down on quality of life crimes, AS WELL AS violent crime, we will go nowhere when it comes to making this city safer. Quite honestly, people should be a little afraid of the police...not terrified...but a little afraid...and from my perspective, the criminals in this city have absolutely no fear.

gotcha. i don't disagree, but until there's some kind of seismic shift in the culture of this city, that won't happen. i don't know what it would take to empower the police to make a change (martial law, anyone?), but i think the view on crime is just so, so warped. kids don't grasp the impact of what they're doing. it's a rather scary state of affairs.