Downtown San Diego Public Safety Announcement

I set out walking by myself to my favorite neighborhood bar on December 8th at 5:50pm to meet some friends. A few blocks away is when some jackass decided to profile me as his next victim. Now I know what you are all thinking – OMG is she ok. YES I’m ok and wasn’t hurt. But I’m on a mission to communicate to all my girlfriends and beyond about safety in downtown San Diego.

I was on 8th Ave between Island and Market. I had my Blackberry in one hand and wristlet snuggly around my left wrist. This is when my intuition kicked in and could feel somebody following me. He/She felt close and I was too scared to turn around. To my surprise a man came up behind me, with force, grabbing my upper left arm and then grabbing for my purse (he didn’t succeed). I turned around in a split second to see:

  • · A 6’3” thirty something black man standing over me
  • · He was largely built
  • · Knee length shorts
  • · Long white sleeve shirt
  • · Ball cap

I screamed bloody murder and cursing from the top of my lungs. He started to make his way through the parking lot toward 7th and Island. I quickly dialed 911 and began chasing after him describing him to the operator. I lost site of him. Now – at this point you are probably asking why in the world I ran after him?! Well I know my neighborhood and I know there are handfuls of half-way houses and shady hotels. I was hoping to see him jump inside somewhere.

The cops were there in 4 minutes tops. Gave them the description and asked if there had been increased reports on this type of activity. They nodded no, but didn’t seem very confident in the answer. I asked they give me a ride to my destination. I was greeted by friends and my husband. Less than 15 minutes later the cops called me to say they had somebody detained and asked if I could ID him. The worst part was we pulled near 11th and Park. This is where myself and all the neighbors walk their dogs. I could hear over the radio that I was 1 of 3 ladies he was after this evening. Somewhere and somehow 3 witnesses saw him victimize another woman and they chased after him. I told the officers it could be him, but several things were different. I think he might have changed. But other pieces fit the night.

I’ve contacted my neighbors, building community and posted alerts. The Downtown San Diego Partnership is alerting their safety staff and managers. I informed a professor friend of mine at Fashion Institute, who is new to the neighborhood, but has hundreds of beautiful ladies in this area for school.

We have law enforcement friend/neighbor in the building. So his support and recommendations help.

  • · Be aware, and keep your head up while walking.
  • · Stick to well lit streets. If you do have to walk to your car at night and dark areas, ask someone escort you. A friend, a patron or someone you trust.
  • · Don’t walk past Park Street alone after dark.
  • · Keep purses and handbags close and tight by your side.
  • · Carry pepper spray.
  • · AND never leave home without your cell phone, even to just walk the dog or check your mail.

So now I will build my confidence back up by spreading the word in hopes that another woman isn’t targeted. Let’s help one another and create a safer downtown. This isn’t the first incident I’ve heard about in the last 6 months. I won’t stand for this type of crime in my neighborhood.

5 thoughts on “Downtown San Diego Public Safety Announcement

  1. There is so much more crime (anecdotally) in recent months. I’ve lived in San Diego’s North County 8 years and only in the past four months I’ve had my purse stolen, my next door neighbors had their house cleaned out on Thanksgiving Day, and plenty of similar stories from friends.

    It’s right to be on your guard and take extra precautions. I had to be paranoid and would rather trust a little too much than live in constant fear. But let’s just call it vigilance. Sorry to hear about your scare! (Good job though not being the victim.)

  2. Thank you for posting this. I’m sorry you were attacked.

    One of my former co-workers was randomly attacked in front of our building (Comerica Bank is on the corner – 350 10th), about 6-8 months ago. It was around lunchtime, with people all around – and she was walking with a friend. A clean-cut, decent-looking guy roughly fitting your description was walking toward her, and as he passed he slugged her *hard* in the stomach. She couldn’t get her breath to yell, and even the woman she was with didn’t realize what had happened immediately.

    I remember she said he was wearing a tee with weird wording like “Mental Case” or something similarly appropriate.

    She did report it – police came by to get the info. But later when I searched on the San Diego online crime map (don’t have the link handy, I’m afraid) I could not find any reference to it. I wonder if this stuff goes under-reported, to keep the appearance of safety in the area?

    Anyone want to start a collaborative map / incident reporting system?

    Stay safe!

  3. It looks like ‘daylight savings time’ is putting women at risk because it gets dark so much earlier and they’re getting out from work at 5pm and walking to their cars in the dark at a higher risk to their safety. To me daylight savings time seems archane and unnecessary…

  4. Linda thanks for your comments. I think we really need to get a map going. We can contact local businesses and Gaslamp organizations. If people are aware of what’s going on then maybe these jerks will continue to be pushed out by the cops.

  5. It’s probably in the interest of local business that these things aren’t more openly discussed. They want people to keep coming downtown and spending money. (Not to mention conventions…) Melani, you’re right, I think. If word gets out it will start costing the City money, and maybe they’ll get after it more. There are lots of police around (I saw 3 cars last night), but they can’t be everywhere and see everything. Still, sweeping it under the rug is not right.

    And it’s not just women. A male friend of a co-worker was mugged, oh, maybe a year ago, if the area.

    Something I see a lot of is women walking around downtown in shoes/clothes they could not possibly run in. If you have to (or like to?) dress like that, at least consider changing into good walking shoes before heading to your car.

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