October 27, 2009 by 8junebugs
Last night, I abruptly ended a phone call with G at about 9:30 because I heard a woman screaming in the parking lot.
A woman. Screaming. 9:30. PM.
I went out on the balcony, hoping it was just kids playing around, but it wasn’t. It was a young woman — younger than me, certainly, but old enough to be dressed for office work — screaming for someone to help her. She was coming toward the entrance from the side of the lot that borders my own building.
She was staggering.
I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe to a sober person’s movement.
Eventually, her legs buckled and she sat on the curb.
She said she’d been attacked, that a man had taken her bag, grabbed her arm and thrown her to the ground. Then he ran off. I don’t know if he ran off because he onlywanted the bag, or if he ran off because she started screaming.
I wasn’t the first to call 911 — the dispatcher said a car was on its way. By the time I got off the phone, the officer was pulling in and there were four or five people gathered around the woman. I didn’t go downstairs…I wasn’t sure how I could help without being in the way, not having seen the incident at all.
I could have brought a blanket down, though. I thought of that later. She only had a skirt and blouse on.
This is the seventh and most serious recent incident that I know about; since June, we have been getting somewhat frequent notices about increased vehicle break-ins and theft, and there have been reports of people (presumed homeless) sleeping in the stairwells.
Management, when asked pointedly, said they are “looking into” installing more site lighting, installing cameras, and hiring a temporary [Mall Cop].”
They had other terms for the Mall Cop, but it comes down to uniformed, unarmed person patrolling the area and Looking Official. I mean I’m not expecting Walker, Texas Ranger to stand guard — uniformed and unarmed is reasonable for building security.
It’s the “looking into” and “temporary” that bother me. I live by myself, I go to work early, and I come home late at least twice a week, and we’ve already discussed how I’m a statistically likely target. And hey, we turn the clocks back this weekend, which means it’ll be dark when I get home no matter what. Given an average of two “incidents” a month and the fact that the latest involved violence, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a better-lit parking lot and 24-hour security cameras.
Because, let’s face it, a guy in a uniform is no more of a deterrent than a camera, and a system of cameras can be everywhere at once and record everything in range. Not even Chuck Norris can do that.
What do you think? What is building management’s responsibility here?
(The moral of the story, by the way? Be ready and willing to scream bloody murder. And learn to punch people in the neck.)