HYPERLOCAL NEWS HUB BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS DEPARTMENT OF JOURNALISM
Don't fall victim to crime
Nicole Blum/ MicroMemphis reporter
It's common to get in a fast paced routine and to forget basic safety rules. However, after speaking to the Crime Prevention Officer and Lieutenant of the Union Station, Richard Chalmers, when you get lax about safety, you become an "easy target" to criminals.
"Robberies of opportunities... that's what most individual robberies entail," said Chalmers.
Robberies of opportunities may seem like an uncommon term, but unfortunately, these crimes are to blame for the recent incidents in Cooper-Young.
Chalmers spoke of two recent robbery of individuals- one in July, 2010 and the other in April, 2009. In both cases the victim was followed from his or her location (both from the Cooper-Young entertainment district) and then robbed shortly after.
"Anytime you have an entertainment district you are going to attract criminals. Criminals go to where the targets are," said Chalmers. He went on to say, "After looking at the two cases, I think the people were in the business with the victim when they followed them out and robbed them."
What's even more alarming is that Chalmers said, "Most preditors pick out a victim within five seconds- the way he/she carries themselves, the way she carries her purse, is he or she paying attention. They watch for a potential victim. And then we catch them and they say 'I followed them from the grocery store and they never knew I was behind them'."
He recomends paying particular attention to who is around you, either on foot or in a vehicle. Watch what type of car is behind you when you leave, and then if you are closer to home make sure they aren't still behind you. If they are, Chalmers said, "Look in your mirrors and check your back seat. Don't go home. Give us a call and do not go home."
Chalmers is not discouraging residents from going out at late hours of the night or visiting this area, but rather encouraging you to follow a few simple tips to make yourself, as Chalmers calls it, "a hard target."
Chalmers said he could not comment on the recent shooting that took place on Felix Avenue because it was under investigation. However, he did say the victim seems to be a victim of opportunity. Just like making yourself a hard target, you should make your home one, too.
"I still can't get specific as to particulars because it is still under intvestigation, but even landscaping around houses, pay attention. There shouldn't be a place for a criminal to hid. It's about situational awareness, good lighting and using a buddy system. "
Chalmers said most criminals are just as scared, if not more scared than the victim they are attacking. "If you resist, they feel threatened and that's when most victims get hurt. Guns are used in 42% of robberies because they want to use extreme force to get victims to comply." He recommends giving them any materials they are asking for and then get away from the scene.
After asking what people could carry with them to protect themselves (and expecting some form of deadly weapon) he simply said, "the best weapons are your eyes. What do they look like, what are the doing and also listen to what they are saying- Sometimes this information is enough to convict."
The most recent robbery of an individual happened on November 10 in the 1000 block of Rayner St. Colonel Houston isn't able to comment on this case since it is under investigation but said, "maintain exterior lighting, trim shurbs and report suspicious activity. Also, don't forget to avoid 'warming up' vehicles as the weather turns colder."
Nicole Blum/MicroMemphis Reporter
Nicole Blum is a senior broadcast journalism major. She is an intern at WMC-TV 5 and works in the Marketing department at the University of Memphis. Send her your story ideas and follow her on twitter: @N_Blum.