Muggings and whatnot
November 7, 2006 3:01 PM   Subscribe

MugFilter: Has anyone here been mugged or held up in recent years?

I'm not talking about pickpocketing or burglary, but actual muggings, holdups, or assault by a random stranger.

Interestingly the reason I post this is because popular literature of the 1960s and 1970s seemed to give the impression that mugging was almost unavoidable in the cities. Nowadays I never seem to hear anything about this. Arguably it could be because most literature was rooted in the NYC culture, which has changed quite a bit since those days. Also it could be because we do a lot more driving than walking since the 1960s and are a bit more cocooned.

Nowadays all of the textbook crime fears seems to center around gangs and domestic violence, the former of which is pretty avoidable if you don't live in the hood and the latter of which is probably in a category of its own and not really relevant to my question. Also I'm aware that lots of petty crimes are the norm now.

Anyway, I'll get off that tangent and ask about your experiences. Also please indicate what city/state/country we're talking about.
posted by chef_boyardee to Society & Culture (75 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My wife was mugged in Houston a few years ago. This was in Houston, TX, downtown. I think probably Harris County? She was basically hit and pushed down, the guy grabbed her purse, and ran off.

In a slightly more bizarre case, someone once entered our apartment while I was away, but she was still there, and stole only her purse, and then left.
posted by RustyBrooks at 3:05 PM on November 7, 2006

Not me personally, but in the past three years I've had three friends mugged in Brooklyn, two at knifepoint but both unhurt. The other one was hit in the back of the head with a brick and came to a few minutes later with his wallet gone and, at the end of the evening, ten stitches in his head. Also just had a friend pushed off his bike and wallet stolen in West Oakland. Purely anecdotal.
posted by one_bean at 3:05 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

A friend of mine was mugged recently, but then, he lives in Colombia, so...

We had a home invasion style robbery last year, which, I think, along with car-jacking, is sort of the new mugging.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:09 PM on November 7, 2006

I've been held up for my wallet in Chicago a few months back.
posted by bonheur at 3:14 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged in Paris, France, a few years back.
posted by baklavabaklava at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2006

I was held up at (what I was intended to believe) gunpoint just about two months ago, in Chicago. Handed over my purse and he left.

Self-link with more details.
posted by fuzzbean at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2006

Muggings are fairly common in Philadelphia. Part of the problem is that many of the nice neighborhoods abut very bad neighborhoods. One block might be very nice while the next block over has frequent gun violence.
posted by malp at 3:18 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged outside of my apartment building in South Minneapolis a few years ago. I think the guy was hiding in between two brownstone apartments looking for someone to come along. He had a small hatchet and demanded my bag. I wasn't as quick on the uptake as he would have liked so he tapped my hand with the blunt side of the handle lightly (didn't hurt). Obviously I gave him the bag and he ran off to his ride waiting for him down the block.
posted by moru71 at 3:19 PM on November 7, 2006

Muggings are down dramatically in NY and several other major cities over the last few decades, but still a big problem in cities like DC and Baltimore. I live in DC and I can think of 7 muggings in my group of friends (all of whom live in what are considered relatively "safe," gentrified parts of the city) in the last two years. One friend was robbed at gunpoint (in a city where guns are illegal) in the safest neighborhood in the city. Another friend of mine was held up at knifepoint in his front yard last year. Several of my friends have also had their homes broken into and property stolen.

Joe (or Jane) Public's crime fears are dependent in part on media coverage of crime, and a mugging where someone lost $50 just isn't as exciting as stranger rape and drive by shootings.
posted by decathecting at 3:27 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged, incompetently, in New Orleans in the early 1990's.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:28 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

A few friends and acquantances were mugged at our college campus in Claremont, California (east of LA) - I was there between the years of 2002-2006. I can think of at least 3 attempted muggings, one attempted "stranger rape" (she was passed out, he came in the door and climbed on top of her, she woke up and pushed him off, he ran away), as well as assorted bike and car thefts.
posted by muddgirl at 3:33 PM on November 7, 2006

Mugged by a group of teenagers, almost exactly six years ago, in south London. They opened negotiations by breaking my nose and things proceeded from there.
posted by Hogshead at 3:33 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

Speaking of Baltimore, a friend of mine got attacked by a large group of kids (9-12 year olds) while walking home from campus after dark. I don't think they took much beyond his cash and possibly his credit/atm cards, but he was roughed up a little. (This is in the Remington area of Baltimore.)
posted by scalespace at 3:37 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged in Columbus, Ohio in 1993 while taking a smoke break outside a club. The guy came up behind me, grabbed my arm and told me to lay down, which I did. He gently removed my wallet and my half pack of Camels. I was madder about the cigarettes, as he was about to find out I didn't make very much money then...

I've never really been too concerned about these sorts of petty crimes, like the countless times my cars have been broken into, or my bike that got stolen a couple years ago, because I figure the perpetrator is likely living a super shitty life and is addicted to something nasty and expensive. That's revenge enough for me.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:39 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I know of several friends who got mugged in Miami in the 90s and early 2000's
posted by necessitas at 3:41 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged election night 2004 in Washington DC right out front of my appartment building. As if the results of the election didn't make me feel bad enough, lying on the ground with a gun placed to the back of my head while someone rifled through my pockets put everything in perspective. The scary thing was that I didn't have any $ on me, which only made them mad. I'm very thankful that I wasn't hurt but I will never forget that feeling of powerlessness.
posted by batboy at 3:51 PM on November 7, 2006

Does it count as a "mugging" if you're driving a car? I was robbed at gunpoint the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, 1991, driving home from work. It was at (or near) 14th and Harvard in DC, which used to my cross-town shortcut driving home.

I was stopped at a traffic light with parked cars on my left and another lane of cars on my right, other cars in front and behind me. Basically, I was boxed in. A guy walked up to my open window, started to say some pretextual verbiage, showed me a gun, then told me to give him my money.

I gave him my wallet. When the light changed, I drove down the street and found a officer of the uniformed branch of the Secret Service who called the Metropolitan (DC) Police to take my report. The DC cops made me stay there, then eventually took me up into Mount Pleasant to "drive by" and try to identify someone they were holding as a suspect. It wasn't the guy.

I never got my wallet back. For months afterward, I was scared to drive with my windows down. I changed my route to and from work, going 20 miles out of my way through Rock Creek Park. You do what you have to do.

It really affected me at the time, 15 years ago. I didn't realize until this moment, writing this, that it's still "real" to me in some ways, as if it happened yesterday.

Sorry if this is too much information... I wonder if that neighborhood -- Columbia Heights -- is still as rough?
posted by Robert Angelo at 4:00 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

I know plenty of people who have been mugged in New York in the last few years, all of them in Brooklyn. Let's say between five and ten. My BF got mugged and then when I called him the muggers answered his phone. That was fun. I still am confused as to why muggers mug people in poor neighborhoods: I mean, the subway can take you to where the rich folks live, and the white boy who lives in the ghetto? he definitely has no cash.
posted by dame at 4:07 PM on November 7, 2006

Muggings are fairly common in Philadelphia.

Oh great. Just when I started to get a little bit more comfortable at trying to take the bus down to Center City alone (I go to Phila U, which is in East Falls), I see this. Oh well, better safe than sorry.

One of my classmates said he was mugged near the U of the Arts last year. I never been mugged, but I've lived in suburbia all my life.
posted by daninnj at 4:12 PM on November 7, 2006

My sister was mugged in a grocery store parking lot. Her purse with cash and credit cards were stolen. It was probably 7-8 years ago. She was a waitress at Uno's Pizza. She got off late, went to a 24 hour grocery that cashed paychecks, was obviously being watched, and then was mugged while walking to her car. The perpetrator grabbed her from behind, picked her up, hit her, and pointed something in her back, and said "give it up".
posted by LoriFLA at 4:13 PM on November 7, 2006

Forgot to mention area my sister was mugged--Central Florida.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:18 PM on November 7, 2006

About four years ago I was the recipient of an attempted mugging.

Fortunately, I was armed and they were not (as much). Not to start the whole gun issue YET AGAIN, but that is EXACTLY why law-abiding people carry firearms. Not to shoot people, but to shift the balance of power in a potentially violent situation.

Oh, this was Sunday morning in the hipster part of Seattle.
posted by ImJustRick at 4:22 PM on November 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

Our own UbuRoivas posted a question after he was mugged here in Sydney just last month.
posted by web-goddess at 4:25 PM on November 7, 2006

In Atlanta, a friend's boyfriend was held at gunpoint in front of his apartment. Cops think he refused to hand over his money or didn't have any on him and was shot and killed as a consequence. Ironically, He had moved from a crappy part of town where a similar occurrence had just happened to one which was supposed to be nice aand low-crime.
posted by jmd82 at 4:25 PM on November 7, 2006

Oh, and a good couple years ago, 2 acquaintances were held at gunpoint during a busy Saturday in broad daylight afternoon at a Harris Teeter Parking lot in a very rich part of Atlanta (Dunwoody). They both proceeded to get in the car where one was able to escape...the other not so lucky.

Moral of the stories? Bad shit can happen anywhere.
posted by jmd82 at 4:29 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged in San Francisco in about 1994 (this was near the top of Potrero Hill) Three kids came from behind and knocked me and my friend down from behind. They held us with their arms around our neck as they asked for our wallets. They didnt get away with much.

The story had a funny twist, actually. I was carrying some take-out chinese food which I had dropped. One of the muggers was picking up the bag and I yelled "Hey! thats my dinner!" to which another one said "Yeah, leave it man" and the guy dropped it.
posted by vacapinta at 4:30 PM on November 7, 2006

Oh yeah, my grandmother got mugged in Ocean, NJ, which is in suburbia, but she lived in higher-crime apartments. She was walking at the strip mall about 100-200 feet from her apartment and a girl and a guy took her purse and drove off. They were later arrested, but the money was not found.
posted by daninnj at 4:30 PM on November 7, 2006

Mugging is more practical as a city crime than a suburban crime.
Population is moving from cities to suburbs. Those moving into the cities are often recent immigrants, who are less likely to complain of muggings due to intimidation/fear of deportation/not knowing their rights.

Meanwhile, newspapers are failing as businesses, and focusing more on their advertiser/subscriber base, which is in often in the 'burbs. Hence, less coverage of small-time muggings in city neighborhoods.
posted by desuetude at 4:36 PM on November 7, 2006

Two of my friends were mugged in the last 3 years here in Champaign-Urbana, a college town in Illinois.
posted by MsMolly at 5:03 PM on November 7, 2006

Sorry if this is too much information... I wonder if that neighborhood -- Columbia Heights -- is still as rough?

Columbia Heights is definitely gentrifying, but there's still gang-related shootings in broad daylight about once a year (or so it seems) with bystanders sometimes killed or wounded. However, now this tends to make the front page of The Post. Still, it's not the best of NW D.C.

To the main question: Lots of my co-workers and friends have been mugged in Baltimore, Md. (which is not part of Baltimore County, for the record). It's hard to count, but it happens to someone I know a few times a year.

I mean, the subway can take you to where the rich folks live, and the white boy who lives in the ghetto? he definitely has no cash.

Well, if you are poor you might carry more cash with you than if you were rich and had a bank account. Also, a poor person could be less likely to report crime to the police. Not to mention that there's a lot of pressure for an arrest if you mug someone in a rich neighborhood.
posted by Airhen at 5:04 PM on November 7, 2006

There's been a fairly substantial rise in muggings and random violence around the U of M campus in Minneapolis. At the beginning of the semester, they'd have more than one mugging every week in the police blotter in the Daily.

Some of the "muggings" ended with people in the hospital for multiple skull fractures, but with their wallets intact.
posted by adamwolf at 5:10 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged in Indianapolis about ten years ago. I was walking to work near a major thoroughfare, and this guy out of nowhere grabbed my arm and told me to give him what I had. I don't even know if he had a weapon, but I was so startled I just gave him my wallet and watched him run away.
posted by headspace at 5:10 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged, incompetently, in New Orleans in the early 1990's.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:28 AM ACST on November 8

That is really strange because I was too! They didn't actually take anything in the end.

Unfortunately, a friend was mugged similarly a few months later and sadly was shot and killed when the mugger got nervous. Again, nothing was taken in the end besides my friend's life.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:18 PM on November 7, 2006

Over the last 2 years in NYC:

Me: Smacked in the back of the head by a drunk in a laundromat, unprovoked. Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Boyfriend: Robbed at gunpoint waiting for the bus late at night by McCarren Park, Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

My sister: Siezed and shaken and money demanded from her by the entrance to the Bedford stop on the L. She had no money, he ran away.

Friend#1: Knocked over and mugged for the bag he was carrying, then the assailant bolted. Turns out the bag contained jack-o-lantern guts he was about to drop in the corner trash can.

Same Friend: Head-butted in the face because he took the last pumpkin muffin at Au Bon Pain in Union Square.

Friend#2: Robbed for cash and iPod at gunpoint in Union Square Park. Attacker went with him to ATM and get more cash.

Neighbor: Robbed at knifepoint in East Williamsburg, walking down Graham Ave, for $60 cash.

Friend #3: Harassed and then beaten by three young guys by Riverside Park, Upper West Side. Fought back and escaped.

Friend #4: Roughed up on an almost-empty N train late at night by a couple of guys.

In several of these cases were the police notified, in a few cases the police responded, and in not one case was a charge ever filed against anyone.

That's why you don't hear about this kind of thing anymore.
posted by hermitosis at 5:20 PM on November 7, 2006 [1 favorite]

My roommate was mugged at Jefferson St and Evergreen (near the JMZ Myrtle stop in Brooklyn). Two teenagers roughed him up for his wallet, cell-phone, and ipod.
posted by idledebonair at 5:43 PM on November 7, 2006

In my Seattle neighborhood in the last few years, there have been a bunch of muggings that followed a pattern: the victims were elderly Asian ladies walking home from the store or the bank, etc. The thought was that it was the same mugger or group of muggers doing all of these but I don't know if anyone was ever caught.
posted by litlnemo at 5:43 PM on November 7, 2006

A good friend of mine (male, but kind of small) was mugged in New Haven a few months ago. I believe the mugger had a gun, or at least something gunlike in a pocket. He asked for his money, and my friend gave it to him - it was only about $35. The guy left, came back, and asked for his entire wallet. He handed it over. He was probably mistaken for a Yalie, which are the main targets of muggings in the area. He's the only case I know of out of all my friends in Boston and Philly as well.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:44 PM on November 7, 2006

MugFilter: Has anyone here been mugged or held up in recent years?

Clearly a number of you missed part of the question...
posted by blind.wombat at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2006

About two months ago a friend got mugged outside of a pub in the historic district of Savannah, GA. Weekend at about 1:00AM. Three guys, gun point: took it all.
posted by octomato at 5:53 PM on November 7, 2006

About two months ago a friend got mugged outside a pub in the historic district of Savannah, GA. Weekend at about 1:00AM. Three guys, gun point: took it all.
posted by octomato at 5:54 PM on November 7, 2006

In 1999, my aunt and uncle were mugged in Philadelphia, outside a Wawa convenience store. My uncle stepped in front of his wife to protect her, but then the mugger stabbed and killed him.

Sorry to be all Debbie Downer, but that's my only mugging story.
posted by emelenjr at 6:06 PM on November 7, 2006

I've never been mugged, but I go to USC and we get emailed every time a mugging is reported to the campus police and I would estimate there are anywhere from 1-5 muggings a week. Those are just the ones that were students, who reported it, so I would estimate its actually quite a bit higher in the general population in the area.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 6:20 PM on November 7, 2006

My wife and I got robbed at gunpoint right outside of our appartment building in Philly.
The guy got my empty wallet and was later arrested with it and all of my ID.
He's in prison now.
posted by Jon-o at 7:09 PM on November 7, 2006

I live in Hyde Park in Chicago, and muggings here are pretty frequent. I would say they average two a week or so, but they tend to come in waves. Most occur in the early evening, between 4PM and midnight, but over the summer there was a rash during the AM hours. (All this info comes from University of Chicago crime alerts - I'm a recent alum.)

I've never been mugged myself, but a friend was knocked to the ground and had his wallet and phone stolen at around 3PM.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 7:28 PM on November 7, 2006

A good friend was mugged in Vancouver, BC, about a year ago. He actually fought back (dumb) and kicked the muggers ass (awesome) before getting away.

Another guy I know was assaulted/mugged in a subway station in Boston a few years ago. He woke up lying in a pool of blood with part of his ear missing, money gone, and no memory of what had happened.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:43 PM on November 7, 2006

In several of these cases were the police notified, in a few cases the police responded, and in not one case was a charge ever filed against anyone.

That's why you don't hear about this kind of thing anymore.

Yep. Out of sight, off the police blotter = out of mind.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:46 PM on November 7, 2006

St Louis, last August. I was busted upside the head in the middle of the day in the Central West End. He took my laptop bag (which had no laptop in it, haha) and my wallet and split. I had no cash on me and was able to cancel my credit cards pretty quickly.

The police were worthless. I seriously considered not reporting it at all, and I may as well not have bothered.
posted by makonan at 7:47 PM on November 7, 2006

Er, last April, not August. It was early 2006.
posted by makonan at 7:48 PM on November 7, 2006

I was mugged at gunpoint a block away from my apartment, in the middle of a blizzard, also in Hyde Park, Chicago. This was about five years ago.

Thing about it was there was nothing I could really have done (he pretty much had the drop on me) except stay calm and give him my cash. Which I did.

Hyde Park is not a "bad neighborhood," but it is in the middle of a very economically depressed part of Chicago. However, robberies and assaults are nearly as likely to happen in Lincoln Park or Wrigleyville (people have something to steal there) as they are on the South Side or the West End.

Of course, there is also the possibility that quite a few of the muggings in "poorer" areas are never reported in the first place.

There is really no way to predict when, where of if someone will get mugged (although I was told before I moved to Hyde Park that everyone gets mugged and gets food poisoning at least once while they are there). The key is just to be aware of your surroundings and know what to do if the situation arises.

The one thing you can say is that the most desprate people will do the most desprate things.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:00 PM on November 7, 2006

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:15 PM on November 7, 2006


>About four years ago I was the recipient of an attempted mugging.

>Fortunately, I was armed and they were not (as much). Not to start the whole gun issue YET AGAIN, but that is EXACTLY why law-abiding people carry firearms. Not to shoot people, but to shift the balance of power in a potentially violent situation.

Please talk me through this experience. They didn't have a gun, you did? In what way were they trying to mug you then -- with a knife, what? And how did you get to the gun in time?

Not to start the whole gun issue YET AGAIN, but this sounds like an interesting case. Presumably if they had waved a gun at you, you wouldn't have been crazy enough to go for yours? How exactly did it go down?
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:30 PM on November 7, 2006

Assaulted but not robbed at 10:30 of a summer's night in Lviv, Ukraine, in 2004. I came up behind three young men who were annoying each other, and turned onto a side street. Had I lingered further behind, they would not have noticed me, but they did, ran up behind me, asked if I had any cigarettes, and hit me twice in the back of the head. By the time I turned around for a fight, they were running away again.
posted by eritain at 9:00 PM on November 7, 2006

I too was assaulted and not robbed, on the subway in Brooklyn at 8 pm. This was a couple years ago. There were probably about ten other people in the subway car. These three wannabe gangsta teenagers gathered near the door as we pulled into a station, and right before they got off the train one of them punched me in the eye FOR NO REASON, and then while I was reeling another one punched me in the face.

They laughed, and hopped off. I had a black eye, but it could have been worse.

I wasn't even looking at them, so I don't know why they did it. But I never sit next to the doors of a subway anymore.

FWIW, every theatening experience I have had in NYC has come from kids between age 15 and 18, I guess because they have something to prove.
posted by np312 at 9:16 PM on November 7, 2006

I wonder if that neighborhood -- Columbia Heights -- is still as rough?

You wouldn't recognize it anymore. In 2000 you still had to step over drunks sleeping in doorways to enter businesses at times, but that area is cleaning up quickly. There are luxury apartments going up everywhere.

Anyway, I have a friend who had her purse snatched in Columbia Heights. She chased the guy down and took it back. In six years of living here that's the closest to a mugging I've personally heard of.
posted by peeedro at 9:26 PM on November 7, 2006

Around June a coworker was knocked out with something solid to the head after withdrawing money from an ATM. Lost the money. Close to Folsom and 8th, San Francisco, midnight.

An acquaintance got his laptop stolen after being shoved to the ground and hit in the head by two guys at the bus stop at Market and 3rd, San Francisco, 11 p.m.

The second one made a police report, never caught the guys and never made it to the news.

Close to my apartment building, 6th and Mission, San Francisco, I have seen ambulances picking up stabbed guys twice this year. The owner of the store closer to the stabbings says both victims were mugged by local junkies. Never saw a word on the papers.

All this on my way to work, and I usually work late and walk home. I keep my ID and bank cards outside of my wallet, in case of a mugging I plan on handing my wallet with my cash only.
posted by Dataphage at 10:38 PM on November 7, 2006

About four years ago I was the recipient of an attempted mugging.... I was armed and they were not...

Please talk me through this experience. They didn't have a gun, you did? In what way were they trying to mug you then -- with a knife, what? And how did you get to the gun in time?

Sunday morning, around 10, a few days before Christmas.

I ran a couple of quick errands and was walking back to my car. Two guys, both bigger than me (which is saying something; I'm 6'1" and er... broad) boxed me in, up against a wall. Not AGAINST the wall, but in such a way that I couldn't keep walking. Obviously trying to intimidate, and WAY in my personal space.

What they said has changed in my head over the years - adrenaline does a lot to blur the details - but they wanted my wallet and communicated such. "Whatchoo got in your wallet?" and "What are going to do?" are two phrases that I still remember.

Anyhow, I brushed my jacket back and unholstered my firearm. I didn't point it at anyone and yes, my finger was off the trigger, but it was out and a presence.

Seeing that, the two of them hightailed it without another word. Down an alley (for you Seattle people playing along, that's the alley between 1st and 2nd, by Battery).

In telling the story, I'm sure that to an anti-gun person this reads like I'm a paranoid freak. I suppose it seems like two nice gentlemen came up to me and wondered if I carry an Amex. But the fact is, they absolutely wanted at LEAST my wallet, and they were using their size to threaten me.

The whole situation went about as well as could be expected, I guess.
posted by ImJustRick at 11:29 PM on November 7, 2006 [3 favorites]

London, November 2004; I'd just gotten back from New York the day before, went to work but left early and was taking a black taxi back to my flat in The East End.

I was jet lagged and incredibly mellow, iPoding and, as it was 3PM I didn't (like I usually do) carefully scope the scene before I exited the taxi.

Some asshole popped out of a nearby phone box and punched me squarely in the face. For the asshole that was as good as it got; I kicked him all over the side of the taxi and curb. I knocked him down three times, but he kept getting up.

Everytime he was on the ground I told him to stay down and would try to pay the driver so I could exit the scene. But he'd get up and lunge at me again, where I'd one / two him in the face, back off a little and kick him to the ground again.

He finally fled when I told that cabbie to call the cops, as this guy wasn't backing down. Since the combat had attracted all sorts of attention - folks had stopped walking past and were now yelling, and cars had stopped in the road - he fled at that point.

Cabbie was very English, and kept apologising as he made change.

Cops told me it was very common on Commericial Road in E1; assholes see a guy in a suit get out of a black taxi, and know there is money nearby, perhaps in your hand. Crime of opportunity.

I didn't have my money out yet, but he went for my gold Rolex; my right hand was all scratched, the thumb twisted back. I got a black eye out of it as well which was pretty neat, and I blamed it on my GalPal at the time who did, in fact, have a nasty temper.

Dutifully filed a police report at 3AM in Bethanal Green Police Station, got a form letter four days later (dated the day I reported though!) that stated "the Police had conducted a extensive investigation but no arrests had been made yet". It closed with "we'll keep you informed". They also reiterated that if I saw him again I wasn't to approach or confront him but rather call 999.

I never heard from the police again after that, but I did get pestering letters from a group called "Victims Compensation" who told me I was entitled to 1,000 Pounds. I didn't claim the money as, having lived in New York for thirteen years, I'd received worse beatings than I gave that guy; didn't seem right for me to get paid.

So who done it? British skinhead, maybe 30 years old, missing all his front teeth, I still feel (sorta) bad 'cause I know during the last, rather sustained clash I broke some of his ribs. As I've had heavy training in hand to hand I can usually handle these things without getting all violent and nasty and ruining my mood. But I don't feel all that bad as he was the one who started the party and invited me.

I actually saw him about three months ago outside a local homeless shelter, screaming at some down & out over a bottle they were sharing.

I entertained a fleeting thought to call the cops, but then figuring the skinhead already had far more trouble in his life than he could handle, I continued on my way to the pub.
posted by Mutant at 11:53 PM on November 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine got mugged just inside one of the "bad" neighborhoods (which, relatively, there aren't any truly "bad neighborhoods" here) of Athens, Georgia earlier this year. This neighborhood backs right up to my downtown neighborhood, and being a bartender and barback in my neighborhood, he had parked his car there, because parking downtown had grown scarce that evening.

It was about 4 AM, he was drunk and walking to the car with people that worked in his bar and nearby bars. He admits they were being kind of loud. I have to say, he is not someone I would want to mess with -- 6', and built as all get out -- but a couple guys showed up on the path in front of him and demanded his money. Being drunk, he straight up laughed at them, until they pointed a gun in his face. He said that nothing will sober you up faster than a gun pointed at your face, just inches away.

They got away with everyone's phones and wallets.

A couple years ago a student (Athens is the home of the University of Georgia) was mugged in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon, on campus, on a slightly secluded path (central to campus, but closed in by thick bamboo on both sides). That had been one of my favorite ways to walk to class (beautiful and serene) but after that I avoided it for years.
posted by Famous at 12:41 AM on November 8, 2006

I was mugged for a trivial quantity of green near Deptford Park in New Cross 10 - 15 years ago (in daylight). Guy came on friendly, insisted on walking along with me, wouldn't piss off then pulled out a knife when we came to quiet part of an estate. Didn't actually take anything of value though so I wasn't too concerned.

A friend was mugged in the back of an unlicensed minicab in the Farringdon area while drunk after a night out, punched in the face a few times and relieved of his wallet.

A colleague's wife gets assaulted and robbed with scary frequency - most recently less than a year ago. She has lost phones, bags, wallets to muggers, and had injuries ranging up to a broken jaw.

All of these are in London. Honestly, it's reasonably common here.
posted by bifter at 1:19 AM on November 8, 2006

I was mugged in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (a suburb of Toronto) about 12-13 years ago. I suspect it was by a gang member, as it was in a shadier part of the 'saug. However, that doesn't meant it couldn't have happened in the nicer parts of town - hell, there were PLENTY of gang members in the swanky suburban neighbourhoods around where I grew up. Bored suburban kids can be just as much of a menace.
posted by antifuse at 2:51 AM on November 8, 2006

My brother-in-law visited NYC (from Australia) a few weeks ago and was mugged twice in the week he was there. The second time he got a beating for saying something stupid like "you're kidding me, I got mugged yesterday".

Took all his money and cards the first time, more money and his passport (which he was carrying as ID since he lost all his cards) the second time.
posted by markr at 3:48 AM on November 8, 2006

Brownswood Road, London N4, December 2004. Two kids, 12/13ish, tried to grab my handbag from my left shoulder. I had my work bag (with a heavy A4 hardcover book in it) in my right hand, and swung it round and wacked one fair in the temple. They ran away.

Queen Street, Brisbane, near the Treasury Casino, November 2003. Three guys and a girl, 14/15ish. They ran past and cut the straps of my handbag, and cut under my arm. I had to report it to the police as the bag contained a work phone; otherwise I probably wouldn't have bothered.

My handbag was also stolen at a bar once - again with the work phone (and work car keys), so it was reported. Now I am very, very careful - the most significant result of these incidents is that my behaviour has changed.
posted by goo at 3:50 AM on November 8, 2006

Oh and a woman hit me on the arm, really hard, on the Tube because I offered her a seat and she wasn't pregnant, just fat.
posted by goo at 3:52 AM on November 8, 2006

**stifles laughter**

Sorry, common assault isn't funny, but I've done that before too (in my case I just got serious evils - she still took the offer of the seat though!)
posted by bifter at 3:54 AM on November 8, 2006

I live in Columbia Heights and it's significantly better than even just a few years ago. Interestingly enough, 14th & Columbia (which is half a block from 14th & Harvard) is listed in an excellent Washington Post article as the most dangerous intersection in DC. I had a friend robbed at gunpoint at 16th & Columbia a few months ago -- they demanded his cellphone and wallet. I've had children warn me to "be careful" late at night and actually been run over by three muggers who were fleeing from cops in hot pursuit at the 7-11 at 14th & Columbia.

In 5 years of living in this city, however, I've never once had a problem. That's probably, however, because I'm a 200lb, 6'2" male and keep my wits about me when I'm wandering around alone at night.
posted by kdar at 7:12 AM on November 8, 2006

Well, if you are poor you might carry more cash with you than if you were rich and had a bank account.

Yeah, you don't know much do you? About say New York, gentrification, or the amounts of cash people carry?
posted by dame at 9:45 AM on November 8, 2006

My husband was mugged (gun stuck to head, ordered onto ground, wallet stolen) on a bright sunny Sunday afternoon walking home, in New Orleans. The guy is now in Angola.
posted by pyjammy at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2006

A work colleague was mugged in the CBD of Melbourne a few months ago, some bastard ran up and instigated a tug of war with her over her handbag. She was clinging on tight, so he gave her a good shove which forced her to let go. This happened near Russell Street (junkie hangout) in the wee small nightclubby hours.

Around 10pm-ish one night in the late 80's, a friend and I were waiting for a tram on the corner of Collins & Swanston Streets. I was smoking a cigarette and some guy walked over to me, grabbed the cigarette out of my hand, sneered at me, shoved my shoulder, and walked away. I've laughed a bit about the incident but it did make me feel vulnerable. I don't know if I'd give up my handbag as easily as I gave up the cigarette though.
posted by goshling at 1:09 PM on November 8, 2006

My little brother was mugged last December, two days after Christmas. He was walking to a Circle K less than a block away from our house when someone pushed him down on the ground from behind, took the 60 gig Ipod video I had just bought him, and took off. We were both so angry we cried. It was two days after Christmas and he's just a kid. I can't believe how awful people can be sometimes.
Oh, and it was in Tempe, Arizona.
posted by Bageena at 8:23 AM on November 9, 2006

Yeah, you don't know much do you? About say New York, gentrification, or the amounts of cash people carry?

I don't know much about gentrification or New York, but I know I carry a whole hell of a lot less cash now that I have a job and money (and credit cards) than I did when I had no job and almost no money. I also know that here, the cheap grocery stores, where, presumably, the relatively poor people buy their groceries don't take credit cards, they only take cash. And big fancy buildings let you pay your rent with automatic withdrawals from your chequing account, but a lot of landlords in bad neighbourhoods won't accept anything but cash or certified chequest/money orders, which cost a lot to buy.

Maybe it's different in New York, but here, it's relatively easy for the relatively wealthy to live a cash free existence, while the relatively poor have to pay out a lot more of their expenses in actual cash. So it doesn't seem unreasonable to me to imagine that people in lower income neighbourhoods would carry more actual money, while having less in general.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2006

I was going to make a similar point. Increasingly, "regular" banks will not cash checks of those without an account, hence the check-cashing joints that pop up in poorer neighborhoods. And gentrification, try as it might, doesn't succeed in getting all of these places shut down.

Re: New York, there is still, I think, a bit more of a tendency for NYCers to carry more cash, particularly if they're older. ATMs proliferated in the suburbs long before they were common on many street corners in big cities.
posted by desuetude at 1:49 PM on November 9, 2006

Yeah, that's my point, you don't know what you're talking about. Here, the people I know with money, who live in rich hoods, have big bankrolls because they take hundreds out at a time. The white kid who lives in the ghetto? He's a middle-class first-wave gentrifier who has a bank account and not much money, ergo little cash. How do I know? Because those are my friends. So I understand your point, but it doesn't apply here. But I guess I now understand the stupid thought process muggers use.
posted by dame at 8:59 PM on November 9, 2006

Sorry your BF got mugged, but c'mon..."knowing anything about poor, gentrification, or the amount of cash people carry" might apply to people in poor neighborhoods other than your friends.
posted by desuetude at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2006

It's not just my BF. It's the majority of people I know who have been mugged in shitty neighbothoods. The white kids who move into such neighborhoods don't have any money, but they do have bank accounts. And if you think those kids don't, then yes, you don't know shit about gentrification.
posted by dame at 12:57 PM on November 10, 2006

You could probably just look at your local police reports. Most people would be surprised at what they see, especially if they think they live in 'quiet' areas. Muggings don't make the news in some places because they're too trivial. I've gotten our local reports by email for the last couple years, and I think they're available on many police websites. My local city force keeps a blog.

And to answer the question, three guys with guns tried to jump me for my cell phone, a few months ago.
posted by zennie at 11:56 AM on November 15, 2006

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