You have probably heard the many horror stories that have come out of New York City this year. Dozens of people have been pushed by maniacs onto the tracks of the subway system. During the tough-on-crime Rudy Giuliani years New York City was experiencing a renaissance of safety and prosperity following the crime and despair of the 80s. Now the city appears to be losing all that progress. Now, crime is so bad on the subway that Carine Hajjar felt compelled to write an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal with tips on surviving the city’s public transit system. She writes:
Fathers always seem to distill their wisdom into signature phrases. For my dad, a common one is “always keep your head on a swivel,” meaning be aware of your surroundings. Since moving to New York City this fall, it’s one I’m hearing more often.
I expect the dadisms on the phone calls home, but not on the subway. Last week two officers from the New York City Police Department standing by the turnstiles at a Midtown Manhattan station handed me a pamphlet. It was titled “Personal Safety Tips,” issued by the NYPD’s Community Affairs Bureau. Inside, it had several categories, like “PURSE/WALLET SAFETY” and “WALKING—BE STREET SMART,” with corresponding guidance. It begins with “four ways to increase your personal safety,” the first of which is to “eliminate opportunities that may make you a target.” The second is “trust your instincts.” In other words, keep your head on a swivel.
I’ve always taken the precautions any city-dweller, especially a woman, should. I stand against the wall when waiting for the subway, I take an Uber when it’s late at night, I try not to walk alone after dark, I don’t blast music on my headphones when commuting. These are practically mindless habits: I brush my teeth twice a day, I hold my purse in front of me on the subway.
But lately they feel less like habits, and more like necessities. My phone is saturated with news alerts about the subway: a random shooting, a boy stabbed, a man shoved on the tracks, a woman punched, another raped. These aren’t mere anecdotes. According to the NYPD, the number of “major felonies” in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority system between January and August was up almost 50% from the same period last year. Rapes doubled and felony assaults rose nearly 19%.
Even common-sense habits, no matter how mindfully carried out, may no longer be enough. The pamphlet advises commuters: “Sit in the center of the car, away from the door, to avoid a purse or chain snatch.” My favorite necklace might be saved, but does that prevent the unpredictable sucker punches or violent outbursts against innocent passengers? These random acts of transit violence can’t be prevented by keeping your wallet in your front pocket.
There’s nothing wrong with empowering citizens to protect themselves. But how far can these good tips go anymore? And given the crime wave inundating the city, the pamphlet feels less like a well-intentioned public-service announcement and more like a capitulation. We’re trying our best, earnest cops suggest, but the onus is on you now.
I’ll keep my head on a swivel, but that’s advice I expect from my dad, not from the government that is supposed to protect me.
Action Line: Only you can be responsible for your safety. When you need police in seconds, they’re often minutes away. They try hard, but they can’t be everywhere at once. Definitely keep your head on a swivel. Also, get your gun and your training, now. There’s no reason to wait. If your city feels like an inescapable trap, it’s time to look for a better America. Start your search with my Super States. Also, be sure to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter, and learn more about escaping the bad decisions of politicians who put their own careers ahead of your family’s safety and prosperity.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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