With Sunday's Tribune report on a 42% increase in thefts on the CTA from 2009 to 2011, it's the perfect time to remind readers how not to be a victim of crime.
I've written a number of times that we riders too often put ourselves in danger by not paying attention. I'm really trying not to "blame the victim" here, but there are a number of things we can do to prevent crime and not be a victim ourselves.
- Know your surroundings at all times. Look around you. See who is there.
- Don't stand in the doorway or sit near the door with your iPhone or iPod handy for a snatcher to grab and run off at the next stop.
- Don't keep your face glued to your smartphone screen. (See the illustration here.) That's the corollary to rules No. 1 and 2.
- Watch who is coming between train cars on the end doors. Often, only trouble comes through there.
- Don't fall asleep on the train, especially late at night.
- If traveling at night - when most crime happens - board the first car where the presence of the motorman at least is a deterrent to crime.
- If you are robbed by force or threat - obey! Give him your valuables without a fight while mentally trying to get a description of the assailant.
- Work with the police. Give a description of the offender. With the proliferation of cameras on platforms and at stations, chances are authorities can pull the film and match your description to the perpetrator.
We can't stop all crime, but we can do common sense things to keep ourselves from being a victim.