Last week I shared how I was almost mugged. CBS news picked up on the story and it was featured with the Good Samaritan who came to my aid.
Later that night, at the urging of a community organizer, I attended a CAPS meeting. CAPS stands for Chicago Alternative Police Strategy and is an organization where the community and police work together for the community’s safety and to resolve neighborhood crime matters. I had no idea about these meetings, but since they meet once every two months, the timing couldn’t be any more perfect.
I was ignorant to believe my encounter was too small for the police. When we watch the news, it really distorts us from knowing about the smaller things that go on in our Chicago neighborhoods. Each CAPS districts works with other CAPS districts to make the community a safer place and while I was in the “wrong” CAPS district, they informed me the importance of filing a police report, even though it was a week old. They also were glad I came; not many folks attended, which made me kind of sad and disappointed for our neighborhood. I actually learned a lot about the crimes that have happened.
I also learned a lot about being safe.
Having a phone in your hand is a good thing, according to police. (Some readers blamed me for being on the phone and not aware of my surroundings, which was untrue.) The people at CAPS said it actually deters homeless folks from wanting to harm you because they think you may be on the phone with the police. The best info: Pull it out and tell them you are calling the police. They will run.
I am working with my church in my neighborhood to get some self-defense classes up and going. I already have someone who said they’ve discussed this before, but now the timing great. I also bought some pepper spray with UV marking. So if I do have to use it, the person will be marked with a dye that will last up to 48 hours.
The other important thing is to make your voice loud and clear when situations like this happen. Little did I know this man still lurks in my neighborhood.
Having a voice creates awareness and I didn’t even think my little voice made such a big impact.