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"A Real Tough Guy" at Nuggets...

"Around 3:30 pm yesterday a guy wearing a brown hooded jacket and tan pants walked into one of the six laundries in my neighborhood and pulled out a paper bag. He told the owner to fill it with cash and showed off a silver pistol to make sure his victim knew this wasn't a joke."

There's something about hearing stories like this from real New Yorkers rather than the newspapers that makes them more authentic. This story probably didn't even make the pages of the Post or Newsday or whatever. In fact, Howard says, "Had the friendly shopkeeper not volunteered this story to me today as I was picking up my laundry, I would have never known he'd had a hell-raising experience the day before."

Hearing stories about crime in the city in a way other than the standard news formula (short quotes from witnesses, family members, cops, etc.) brings it home.

- posted by matt @ 1/10/2004 04:32:00 PM

Committee: New Yorkers 'Complacent' About Terrorism

"Though home to ground zero and the worst horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, 'citizen complacency' toward terrorism remains a serious problem in New York state, a state legislative committee has concluded."

Isn't that what I've been saying all along? As I try to document on a near-daily basis, people have other things to be scared of. They'd rather carry their wallets in their front pockets to prevent them from being stolen than set up a go bag for themselves.

- posted by matt @ 1/10/2004 03:08:00 AM

Glendale Bomb Scare Turns Out To Be A High Energy Dud: Cops

"Dozens of Glendale residents were evacuated from their homes on New Year’s Day when a device, suspected to be a bomb, was found underneath a car at 87th Street and Union Turnpike, authorities said.

"The mysterious device was later determined to be a can of the energy drink Red Bull, which was attached to a pack of matches, a police spokesperson confirmed."

- posted by matt @ 1/08/2004 05:27:00 PM

New York Post Online Edition: SLAY RAP FOR TRANSVESTITE

"A homeless transvestite stabbed a man to death in a Manhattan subway station early yesterday, cops said."

Homeless man fatally stabbed on subway platform

"A homeless man was fatally stabbed on a Manhattan subway platform early Wednesday, and another homeless man was in custody, police said."

The New York Post certainly is colorful.

- posted by matt @ 1/08/2004 05:25:00 PM

Secret Search for 'Dirty Bombs'

"With New Year's Eve celebrations and college football bowl games only days away, the U.S. government last month dispatched scores of casually dressed nuclear scientists with sophisticated radiation detection equipment hidden in briefcases and golf bags to scour five major U.S. cities for radiological or 'dirty bombs,' according to officials involved in the emergency effort."

Ok, so they hide the guys with Geiger counters or whatever, but not the guys with large and scary guns in the subway. Why one and not the other? Why not have a man with a large sign that says, "I can detect radiation with this gadget. If you have a dirty bomb, please go somewhere else. Thanks."

- posted by matt @ 1/08/2004 05:18:00 PM

OT: Henry Earl Mug Shots

Not New York, but funny. Lexington, Kentucky is nice enough to post mug shots on their Web site. Fine. "Particularly notable is Henry Earl. He's been arrested nearly 50 times for alcohol intoxication. And they have 48 different mug shots of the guy." EDIT: he's been arrested 805 times, not 50.

This guy has an infectious smile. And here is my fav attempt at photographing Mr. Earl.

And btw... I saw this on MSNBC's Countdown With Keith Olbermann. If you don't watch that show, it's like a weblog on TV. I swear... the producers/writers must surf around all day and "borrow" ideas from what folks are discussion online. Good? Bad? Up to you.

- posted by matt @ 1/08/2004 12:36:00 AM

A Response to my series of questions at the end of the Kitty post below

Do you think this could happen today?


Do you think it does happen today?


Do you think September 11th has changed the way people react towards their fellow New Yorkers in times of crisis?

Yes, but as time goes on, that feeling wanes.

Do you think people changed, but that's no longer true?

Only in the immediate impact of 9/11 - not long lasting.

I'm asking because I'm not sure.

I'm pretty sure. I've been in the situation where I don't "help" cause I think someone else will. It is my biggest fear about NYC - crime in broad daylight with lots of witnesses who simply don't think they should care. It's what I think of most when I relate to ScaryNY.

- posted by matt @ 1/07/2004 01:54:00 PM

Kitty Genovese

A post at Catherine Shu's Newcomer Weblog about a crime she witnessed mentions the story of a woman named Kitty Genovese (do a ctrl+F for "Abstract in the City" and you'll see the post).

As Catherine explains:

"Kitty Genovese was a Queens woman who was killed in 1964. Her murder took half an hour, and there were dozens of passer-by and witnesses who, hypothetically, could have saved her. In social psychology class, I learned that one of the theories that grew from studies of the Genovese case was that the likelihood of a Good Samaritan stepping forward decreased in proportion to the number of bystanders present. In other words, the people who witnessed Genovese getting killed were probably thinking that someone else would do what they were too afraid to do. In addition, the presence of other passive bystanders probably sent out social cues that reinforced their own inactivity."

I forgot all about that story until I read her post. Check out this Newsday story for more background. And let me ask you some questions.

Do you think this could happen today? Do you think it does happen today? Do you think September 11th has changed the way people react towards their fellow New Yorkers in times of crisis? Do you think people changed, but that's no longer true? I'm asking because I'm not sure. Let me know.

- posted by matt @ 1/07/2004 12:50:00 AM

City Rules Out Metal Detectors On Ferries

"New York City has ruled out the use of metal detectors and other passenger screening devices for the Staten Island Ferry."

I can't imagine how that would've work. If you've ever taken the Staten Island Ferry, you know how crazy people are when the gates open and passengers are allowed to board the boat. It's like the running of the bulls, except with a bunch of Staten Island residents instead of animals. Anyway, why does the city think metal detectors unnecessary?

"At least two uniformed officers have been assigned to every boat and several kept on duty at all times in both ferry terminals. In addition, undercover officers have been deployed throughout the system."

All that does is catch people littering and stuff. If someone wants to blow/sink one of those boats up, two uniformed officers and however many undercover officers really can't do much.

- posted by matt @ 1/06/2004 10:19:00 PM

Sandbag kills woman standing under el

"A Brooklyn woman was killed when she was hit by a falling sandbag while standing under an elevated train, in a mystery-tinged tragedy that has left her heartbroken family searching for answers."

Authorities aren't sure if the bag fell or was thrown.

- posted by matt @ 1/06/2004 10:11:00 PM

Guards assaulted at two New York high schools

"Students assaulted and injured guards at two New York high schools Tuesday, just one day after Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a beefed-up, armed police presence to quell school violence."

Woops. Really, though, this is bound to happen. Before, two kids would get in a fight and it would end when it ended. Now there are people there to jump in. They're they ones that got (and will get) hurt.

- posted by matt @ 1/06/2004 10:07:00 PM

New York hits Web to perk up police auctions

" New York, whose Police Department has joined about 300 others across the country in clearing out crowded property rooms online, unloading television sets and car-stereo speakers, leather coats and compact discs, cellphones and anything else that once belonged to someone else and is just taking up space on a locked storeroom shelf."

This is great news! I've always wanted to pick up a stolen bike from an NYPD auction, but I would miss them or forget about them or whatever. Now I can browse around at Property Room.

One man's evidence is another man's treasure... or something. Whatever, you can buy packages of 7 crappy bikes for like $10 at this site, so that's ok by me.

- posted by matt @ 1/05/2004 03:28:00 PM

Church Missing Its Baby Jesus, and Then Thief Grabs Purses

"People stopped in the drizzle on West Houston Street yesterday and stared at a Nativity scene that looked more like a bad art installation.

"Life-size statues of the Virgin Mary, Joseph and the Three Wise Men were gathered in a circle on the hay, pointed not at the newborn king, but at a pink sign that read, 'Please return our infant Jesus.' The doll-size statue has been missing from St. Anthony of Padua Church since New Year's Eve."

How come no one ever takes one of the wise men?

- posted by matt @ 1/05/2004 03:18:00 PM

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