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PostMy Life as a Crime Victim (David Duggan, USA, 04/01/23 11:35 am)
In five days, the reign of terror of Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot will come to an end, and she will have another month to pack her boxes and plan her long vacation from public life. Having just been robbed on the Chicago Transit Authority, I can hope that the next mayor will enforce the law and provide citizens and taxpayers what they expect: a modicum of safety in a city that has been too long out of control.
Wednesday afternoon I was leaving downtown after having served as an arbitrator in the Cook County mandatory arbitration program. This is a role that I have assumed for 30 years, helping to reduce the docket in the "Municipal Division" which handles "small claims" (up to $30,000). Many of these are "subros" or subrogation cases in which the insurer of an auto accident victim sues on behalf of the insured to recover for property damage or in some cases medical bills (called "med pay"). Subrogation is just a fancy legal term to describe one who by virtue of his payment and operation of law takes on the claim of the one injured.
Coincidentally I had just "early voted" for mayor at the downtown facility near the Goodman Theater. I used my senior RTA card to enter the subway tunnel at State/Lake and with briefcase and the remnant of a cup of coffee (those afternoon hearings can be tiresome) in hand waited for the northbound Red Line train. After about a 10-minute wait on the platform, the train approached and I entered one of the front cars and looked for a place to sit to which I should be entitled as a senior. As I was well-dressed I was an inviting target. Immediately, a man wearing a dark hooded jacket grabbed my lower trousers legs and while shaking them said, "You have something on your pants." I shouted to him: "What are you doing? Get off of my pants. Let go." The experience was surreal.
Standing to my right was another man wearing a red and tan leather-sleeved "baseball jacket." I felt something in my back but didn't think much of it until the man in the hoodie left the train and I reached back and felt that my wallet was gone. Before the doors closed I ran after the man in the hoodie, confronted him and said "You took my wallet." With teeth missing from his mouth, he replied that he hadn't taken my wallet and showed his empty hands. Meanwhile a passerby on the platform said that another man had just run up the stairs. I turned to head back up the escalator to report the theft to the CTA person in the booth behind the turnstiles. He could hardly be bothered but called the police, denying that he had seen anyone run up the stairs which were right in front of him. A tactical team arrived some 20 minutes later.
Additional exercises in surrealism followed. I received a text alert and then a phone call from one of my credit card companies that charges had been attempted at the Target now in Carson's old building. Meanwhile the tactical team was interviewing me about the theft, asking for an identification. Who do I respond to and how do I deal with the subway noise while talking to someone on a headset (which in my experience has notoriously poor voice fidelity)? When I told the tactical team all I remembered, they left to try to apprehend the offenders at the Target. I was told to wait for another team of police officers who would issue a crime victim report. They arrived about 10 minutes later. I repeated my story and asked for transport home. The thieves had my address and could easily have been ransacking my house. The cops had to get approval from their sergeant to drive me out of their district. I was giving them a tour of the North side, as they weren't familiar with the rather main street on which I live. With some difficulty I was placed in the back seat of the squad car, and belted in, the first time I had ever been in that position. The ride back was bumpy as there is only a flat bench, not the plush interior which comes as standard equipment on Ford Explorers.
The cops escorted me home and thankfully the place was intact. On departing, one of the officers said that the offenders will probably not be apprehended but I had the victim report to show if I ever got pulled over before I had the chance to replace my driver's license. I then began the round of calling banks and credit card companies, medical insurance providers and other proofs of my existence contained in my wallet. I called Target and spoke to "loss prevention." Emails from my bank and credit card companies were showing multiple attempts to use the several cards, debit and credit. Loss prevention was able to pull up video of the attempted transactions and saw a man with a hoodie, plainly so that his identity was concealed. I asked if it was procedure to detain someone who makes repeated efforts to use a tender which is declined. The loss prevention "specialist" said it was not Target's policy to detain anyone suspected of credit card fraud. That's just an open invitation to these teams of thieves to continue what they're doing. Because the cards were apparently successfully used to buy gift cards, she said she would put a stop on those. But of course, the thieves are probably smart enough not to try to pass these themselves.
"He who steals my purse steals trash," says Iago, the schemer in Shakespeare's Othello. My old wallet contained pictures of my infant son, other family photos, medical information, a library card, and the business card of the bishop of Rwanda who helped heal that country after its genocide 30 years ago. Perhaps a good Samaritan will find the wallet or its contents and give me a call. The hope that I have as to the election next week needs a boost and I hope that a new administration will not only provide a safer CTA but also a fund to compensate those who are captive to the criminal element which has taken over the subways and El trains.
JE comments: This Kafaesque narrative is not, unfortunately, an April Fools joke. The police demanding ID of someone who lost their wallet is particularly bizarre. Sorry about your ordeal, David. I fortunately have never had my wallet stolen, but I've had my credit card numbers "appropriated" twice in the last couple of years.
David, when things calm down a bit, I'd love to hear about your connection to the bishop of Rwanda. Rwanda was in the news this week, when political prisoner Paul Rusesabagina (of Hotel Rwanda fame) was finally released after international pressure.
A Mugging in Miami
(Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA
04/02/23 8:23 AM)
My best wishes to David Duggan and prayers for a peaceful resolution of the mugging he received on the CTA.
I was once mugged and robbed in Miami while leaving a U-Haul parking lot. My wife lost her purse with jewels and a few hundred dollars. The theft delayed our trip back to California. The culprits were never caught, and in retrospect we realized it had been an inside job between a local gang and some workers in the U-Haul store. We were pushed to the ground from behind but were otherwise unhurt, so I am glad that David too was not hurt.
Criminals in Chicago and elsewhere are multiplying thanks to a combination of lack of prosecutions, soft laws on crime, the expansion of gangs entering the country unimpeded by the Biden gang, and the deteriorating economic situation. Soon the next best jobs available will be in security and armed guards, "carros blindados," etc.
JE comments: Crime is being politicized of late--as everything is being politicized. Statistics can "prove" nearly anything related to crime, but the consensus seems to be that the biggest spike in the US was between 2019 and 2020. Hard to blame Biden for that.
The worst crime of course is the one that happens to you. Francisco, sorry about your terrible experience in Miami. Did it happen by chance during Miami's "Wild West" cocaine era--the 1980s?
Crime Rates in the US
(Istvan Simon, USA
04/03/23 2:51 AM)
I am afraid I cannot agree with Francisco Wong-Díaz about the crime rate in the US. While some crimes have increased substantially from 2019 to 2020, other violent crimes decreased significantly.
I regret the muggings that he and David Duggan suffered, but to generalize from such incidents is misleading and dangerous.
JE comments: The NPR article above is from 2020. As I wrote yesterday, statistics are available to prove pretty much any view on crime in America. We can blame Biden or blame Trump, or blame the economy, Covid, etc. Or if you prefer, you can argue that crime is down from the 1990s, despite the plague of school shootings.
Reports from the Right argue that San Francisco has become nearly unlivable. I haven't visited since 2015--what have our Bay Area colleagues observed? Istvan? My own notorious city, Detroit, actually strikes me as peaceful every time I've gone downtown of late.
See below for Detroit. Violent crime was down in 2022, but property crimes increased. Statistics, statistics.
Detroit has decline in violent crime, increase in carjackings in 2022, police say (michiganradio.org)
San Francisco, San Jose Urged to Hire More Police
(Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA
04/04/23 10:46 AM)
Istvan Simon (April 3rd) disagrees with me about crime because he just looks at statistics, and John E has asked about San Francisco because he has not visited in 7 years.
Suffice to say that the mayors of both San José and SF are pushing to hire dozens if not hundreds of more police officers. In San José, they want to put police walking the beat and on bikes.
Moreover, to show the selfishness of those woke politicians, in SF one supervisor who is now a victim of a crime but was a leader of the defund the police movement is now at the forefront of the refund the cops. Nothing like a good mugging to turn Liberals into something else.
JE comments: Francisco, I presume you are referring to Supervisor Hillary Ronen. See below. The Fox article says nothing about her personally being a crime victim:
San Francisco supervisor Hillary Ronen begs for more police in her district after voting to defund in 2020 | Fox News
- San Francisco, San Jose Urged to Hire More Police (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 04/04/23 10:46 AM)
- Crime Rates in the US (Istvan Simon, USA 04/03/23 2:51 AM)