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I wuz robbed

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Deleted by topic administrator 04-12-2008 06:21 AM
10:47 PM ET (US)
Please, give me contact address (email or msn) of this site administrator...
03:56 PM ET (US)
I've been robbed on the street twice in SF, once in 1970, once c. 1984, both times within a couple of blocks of Haight and Fillmore, which once had the distinction of being the most dangerous intersection in the city, before a particular bar closed, and 16th and Mission became the new placeholder. In one case, I gave way "gracefully"; in the other I was checked out, tested, distracted (not given an opportunity to be "graceful"), jumped from behind, and hurt (glasses broken, black eye, and it could have been much worse).

The principal thing I learned was: don't be drawn into an interaction, because that's the whole process: to socialize, get you to stop, pause, and fix yourself as a target, and then to test your limits and reactions by crowding your space. In fact taking your sunglasses probably wasn't the target but the test, which ended when you finally acted appropriately by objecting and leaving. Test for what? To intimidate you into buying drugs, which you refused, or even someone to target in the future (though I hate to consider the possibility).

Part of what trapped both of us were the social conventions and misplaced liberalism that tell us to act civilly and with a certain openness, emotional genuineness, and assumption of goodwill to everyone we encounter. This only works in some places, if ever: certain small or closed communities, college campuses, working environments: places where an assumption of absence of predators isn't quickly punished.

A secondary, minor thing I learned was not to be fixed in space or intention, i.e. keep moving, and have alternate available routes always available (fluid-ambiguous). I was trapped at a deserted bus stop at midnight where I shouldn't have been, near the projects, having had two or three drinks. Asking to crash or calling a cab were the safe options. Walking out, say to Geary ~a mile to a bus stop with a more predictable or limited risk, wouldn't have been risk free but probably a lot safer.

In my experience, yes, unsafe or sketchy neighborhoods tend to be cheaper, but not that much. With some scouring the ads, you can probably find a share rental or an inlaw apt. that isn't much more expensive, is safe, and probably quieter. It might entail a less central location, longer travel times, a less vibrant neighborhood, and maybe roommates that you don't now have to deal with, but it's all likely worth it, or even necessary, depending on who you are (age, gender, size & strength all have something to do with your candidacy as victim, which you don't need to feel apologetic for).
GuiseppiPerson was signed in when posted
09:49 PM ET (US)
You should have popped a cap in his ass. Oh, sorry, California, eh? Only the cops, criminals and elite are armed. Perhaps you could have stabbed the SOB. It's give and take. He takes what you have and what are you going to give him? Next time he very well may stab you and take your life as well as your wallet. If you're incapable or unwilling to defend yourself, quit crying.
Teresa Nielsen HaydenPerson was signed in when posted
02:07 AM ET (US)
Jer, I do know that neighborhood -- it's a lot nicer now than it used to be -- and I've been there on my own in the middle of the night. No goofy Fight Club quotes come to my mind either, just some advice I got from Sensei Takagi twenty years ago: "Say you're walking down the street and someone tries to grab you, what do you do? Well, first, don't walk down that street."

He had a whole hierarchy: First, don't walk down that street. If you have to walk down that street, look like somebody they don't want to mug. If you see bad guys coming toward you anyway, cross the street and walk on the other side. If they cross the street, run. If they run faster than you, [insert here several moves that end up with the bad guys on the ground while you apply torque to their joints]; then once they're on the ground, you kick them in the leg to give them a bad charleyhorse, and *then* you run away.

The martial art of Running Away was the most useful single class session in all my years as a student.

If you're staggering home late at night, alone, perceptibly drunk, in an ill-lit neighborhood that doesn't have a lot of through traffic, you're wearing a sign that says "LUNCH". I'm middle-aged, a bit dumpy, and partially disabled, but under those conditions _I_ could take you.

What would I do if I lived there? If it was important to me to be able to stay out late drinking, then go home alone, I'd take a cab. My advice all involves having other people around because I work hard at avoiding deserted areas.
sassafrassPerson was signed in when posted
06:24 PM ET (US)
i've had similar experiences in the bay area with in-your-face unsavory stuff happening right out in the open. the climate is mild and the rents are sky high, so the sleazeballs are right under your nose instead of behind closed doors. either you pitch in and get your neighborhood so fired up that it organizes to deny the difficult people their habitats, or you just accept the fact that there's a travelling party which has identified your personal turf as the weakest link.
Dav ColemanPerson was signed in when posted
04:08 AM ET (US)
ststrat is right. I walk/skate around the mission all the time. You need to look like you're possibly more trouble than you're worth. Street smarts don't come naturally, everyone gets burned a few times.
ststratPerson was signed in when posted
04:04 AM ET (US)
Eventually, every city dweller has to learn to say, "Fuck you man, you don't know me. Why you want to start some shit?", possibly while pointing to a nearby cop.
Translation: "I say old boy, I'm an unknown quantity that is mostly likely not worth an indeterminate amount of risk. Why don't we go on politely ignoring each other?"
It sucks that you end up having to do this, but it's the only thing I've found that reliably works.
mitdPerson was signed in when posted
03:58 AM ET (US)

Return to the homeland. It is where you belong!
denise@centrs.comPerson was signed in when posted
01:17 AM ET (US)
jer, all of the same kind of people live here. artists, musicians, professional athletes, interior decorators, web people, business people...there's a wide variety. by "in common" i mean that they are 25-45, childless, animal lovers, etc.

and houston is an armpit...heh! just kidding, they actually have a better art scene than dallas does. i don't know what's wrong with people here.
Edited 09-16-2002 11:21 PM
Mark FrauenfelderPerson was signed in when posted
01:14 AM ET (US)
Be happy you don't live in Brazil. (From News of the Weird): Uncontrolled crime (eight times the murder rate of New York City) and a huge wealth disparity (most people either fabulously rich or appallingly poor, with few in the middle) have caused the 1 million wealthiest residents of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to protect themselves by living in 300 gated communities (and have caused some to avoid the city's crime and squalor by traveling exclusively by helicopter), according to a June Washington Post dispatch. About 4,000 people a year without helicopter access armor-plate their cars at twice the price of the car. One walled community (Alphaville) houses 30,000 people, protected by 1,100 armed guards who keep the grounds under constant surveillance and pat down the servants as they head home from work. [Washington Post, 6-1-02]
Locke BerkebilePerson was signed in when posted
01:04 AM ET (US)
I live on that corner (on San Carlos Street). Give me the web address where I can buy some of those goggles so that I can stare at the dealers through the goggles everytime I walk by. In fact, it would be great if we could get a lot of people wearing them when walking by that corner ...
SixDifferentWaysPerson was signed in when posted
12:46 AM ET (US)
I sense some hostility from you. Granted, at 19 - 21 years of age I maybe didn't handle things the best way possible. I lived in a building for $500 a month and knew I couldn't get that deal anywhere else. When I said I once or twice tipped them off that the NYPD was busting up people a few blocks over, I didn't mean arresting per se. I mean busting up as in beating the hell out of them with billyclubs (not that I'm saying it was undeserved.)
But any way, I mainly just take offence at being called a coward and accused of having no backbone. Guliani undoubtedly cleaned up the streets - that's great. If I had lived there longer, I would have happily joined in a neighbourhood programme. But as Denise said, there just wasn't such an option in 1987-1990. Had I called the local precinct and reported, what? that drug dealing was going on at that corner . . . well they would have said thanks and probably had a good laugh after hanging up. I'm all for taking back the streets and helping police do their jobs. But for most people living in poor neighbourhoods in most cities, having at least some sort of civil acquaintance with the local thugs is not a bad survival tip. Would I want to have them on my corner in an ideal world? No. But change doesn't happen overnight.
JerPerson was signed in when posted
12:41 AM ET (US)
Denise, your neighbors in Houston said the same thing not too long ago...What field are the Astros playing in now ;)

No one is safe anymore in their jobs :( Don't you think you'll eventually get bored in a semi-gated community of folks that work at home that are all similar? I sort of like having the musician downstairs, the model upstairs, the wall st trader across, the writer down the hall, the party planner (read: guest lists) up on 7, etc etc etc...ok now you get to rank on me for living in a 12x12' studio for an exhorbitant price...but I 'lofted' my bed :)
Stefan JonesPerson was signed in when posted
12:36 AM ET (US)
I'm glad that you ONLY lost your specs, Cory.

I was going to write something trite about that putting up with a bit of filth and danger was the price of living in a vibrant city (and SF IS a vibrant city) but that's not true.

There's no reason or requirement, even in a hearty bohemian enclave, for city to have a proliferation of tormented beggars, thugs, junkies and crooks.

In the case of wealthy SF, they're there because they have passionate advocates who seem to consider them as a kind of wildlife, or indigenous culture, that requires protection from and the tolerance of civil society. They seem to consider insanity and substance abuse as alternative lifestyles that should be indulged until the person chooses to snap out of it.

Unfortunately, these conditions don't go away with largesse and patience.
JerPerson was signed in when posted
12:36 AM ET (US)
Teresa, almost every single piece of advice you give involves other people.

What do you do when you're alone at 4AM without a mobile phone, 6 blocks at least from a subway stop, no pay phones in sight, and 2 thugs with big pants and no glowsticks come up to you? I could add to this and say you're in a neighborhood you're not familiar with (Lower East Side anyone? bit north of Rivington, probably staggering home after a few drinks...I'm not implying I've ever had a problem there but I can see the potential, also could think of a few places above 96th st)...

I dunno, one of those goofy Fight Club quotes comes to mind, something along the lines of Only when you have nothing are you free from everything...or something like that
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