Last night my friend from high school experienced her first robbery since she moved to Chicago 6 years ago. Now, I don’t know what thief was dumb enough to try and rob this girl, my friend is by no means a helpless damsel in distress. She is about 5’11”, always wears heels, so that makes her over 6 ft tall. She is also an avid athlete and could outrun and out-lift any boy in weightlifting class — yeah she took that as her elective every semester!
Well, as she explained, she was on the train, headed home from work, and sat by the door like always, just minding her own business with her ear buds in, checking her emails on her phone and boom! This young man runs up grabs her phone and runs. Now, I by no means suggest you do what she did if this happens to you, but she started yelling at this man (she has great projection due to her years of vocal training) and chased the man down. She was almost out run by him as he headed up a stair only to run into a K-9 unit. Sadly, the police officer exclaimed, “You again!”
Now, this was a happy ending to what could have been a bad night, but due to her actions it could have even been a far worse night. When I spoke to her she hadn’t even thought of doing anything but chasing the man down, that’s the kind of gal she is, however, she did say that she learned some very important lessons on how to not let this happen again.
She said her first mistake last night was sitting by the door; this is an easy hit and run point for thieves on buses, trainsand public areas. It was extremely easy for him to grab her phone and go without running into any other passengers who may have felt a hero inkling rise in them. Her second mistake was closing herself off to the world around her. She said had she been actively up and aware of her surroundings her phone would have been out of sight and she wouldn’t have seemed like such an easy hit. Her third mistake was placing those valuables out in the open and letting thieves know what she had. Again, her phone was out, her ear buds were visible even her purse was open showing what she had inside.
Now, I am not writing this to scare anyone but to simply warn other women out there who, like my friend and like myself, find ourselves traveling this busy holiday season or even wondering around campus or other public areas. Be safe! Try and always be aware of your surroundings, and yes, that includes the people potentially eyeing you as a possible target. Do not have your phones or tablets out so that the public can see what they may want to take from you. I know it is so hard to not be on our phones while we are waiting, but it only takes one moment for that phone to be taken, and I don’t know about you, but I am not a physically threatening person nor do I have the stamina to run down the person who takes it. So please have a safe and happy holiday!