Getting mugged in NYC is, in one word, scary, in two words, scary and violating.
I am a proud New Yorker and have lived in Manhattan since 2003. I happily walk around Manhattan like I own it and have on countless nights out walked home late by myself. There is a false sense of security I realize now amongst me and my peers. I used to say to all of my friends who lived back in Washington DC, "you can't walk around here the way you can in NYC... we are much more safe!"
Even if petty crime and muggings are way down comparatively over the years in NYC, they are not GONE. And as I learned from the police, in times of economic hardship the volume of these types of crimes only escalates.
NYC MUGGING #1:
I came home from a concert at midnight on a Thursday night (October 27th to be exact) and let my girlfriend take the cab all the way to her place while I got let out one block from my apartment on 9th street and sixth avenue. I had the foresight to think my friend needed to be escorted directly home but incorrect that I would be 100% safe walking the one block.
Now if you know this neighborhood you would know 6th avenue is pretty populated on a Thursday and midnight is like 7:30 pm in other cities. Regardless, within seconds I felt someone behind me grab my purse... then I clenched... then he threw me to the ground...hard ... he ran, I was shell-shocked. I was so disoriented I didn't realize what had happened until I got to my building and saw the blood all over my hands and leg. It was just a bunch of surface scrapes and I was obviously very lucky. Fortunately my doorman Jon (god bless 'em) called the cops while I ran upstairs to tell my husband what had happened. I think he is more traumatized to this day than I am. Cops were great, but not much could be done, and in a city where there is a lot of crime.. a mugging with no weapon should go to the bottom of the list.
What is crazy is that when I had to keep telling my story to replace my phone, my keys at the hardware store, or to the bank manager- they all had even more recent stories of people they knew who had been mugged. I realized very quickly just how naive and, frankly, stupid I had been.
This hasn't stopped me from living my normal life in NYC; just having that extra self-awareness is all you need.
LEARN FROM MY MUGGING:
- Muggings increase during economic hardship.
- Muggers like to station themselves outside of subway stations and NJ transit areas. There they can quickly use your credit cards- buy thousands of tickets and re-sell and have a means of fleeing the scene quickly. I was out $1500 in NJ tickets within 20 minutes.
- Single women at night are still an obvious target, but not the only ones... which brings me to mugging #2
NYC MUGGING #2:
My friend's brother was leaving his own party last week in Chelsea. He was trying to get a cab when a black town-car that looked like any other black town-car cab stopped. He got in because that seemed fine. The occupants of the car then proceeded to take him to Harlem, stole his wallet and his iPhone, and then let him out. Thankfully for him he wasn't hurt, but that is the kind of situation that can quickly escalate to horrifying levels. They emptied his bank account and ran up his cards within minutes. The police are working on it, but, again, it's not looking very likely the perpetrators will be caught.
LEARN FROM HIS MUGGING:
- Don't get into town-cars unless you have personally called a car service. A mugging of this variety may seem far-fetched, but it's not the first incident I have heard of involving a fake-cab. Yet I am guilty of ignoring my own advice just last week.
NYC CRIMESTOPPERS: If you have information regarding a crime committed or a wanted person, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS, text "TIP577" (plus your message) to "CRIMES" (274637), or submit a tip online.