property crimes Self Defense Tips

56-year old woman chases assailant in the Loop

Chicago bike patrol
Sharp-eyed bike patrol officers patrolling the downtown area stumbled upon a strong arm robbery in the 500 block of South Dearborn on September 20, 2010, just after 7 p.m.

Officers Adrian Navarro and Erik Escalante came across a 56-year-old woman about 7 p.m. in the 500 block of South Dearborn Street running after a 16-year-old boy, while yelling, “Help, help, he stole my phone,” police said.

The police officers chased the suspect on their bikes and then on foot. They caught up to him about a half a block away. The victim identified the suspect and her iPhone. She had been walking down the sidewalk carrying her phone in her hand talking to a friend when the suspect came up from behind and grabbed the phone from her after striking her on the arm.

If anyone has been paying attention to the numerous articles that have been written lately about the increase in robberies on the CTA, you would know that having your iPod or cell phone out where anyone can just grab it and run is not a good idea.

It seems as though almost everyone does it, not only on the CTA, but on the streets as well.

Even though the victim was caught off guard when the assailant attacked her from behind, she recovered quickly and ran after him.

Is chasing your assailant a safe thing to do?

1) If it was a strong armed robbery like this one, then chasing after the suspect while yelling for help at the top of your lungs probably isn’t going to hurt you. The question is, “what do you do if you catch them?” Are you physically capable of fighting with them without getting hurt yourself? A visit to the emergency room will probably cost a lot more than buying a new phone or iPod.

2) If it was an armed robbery using a knife then chasing after them may not be one of the best things to do. You could pursue them at a safe distance and hope that someone with a phone calls police or that law-enforcement is nearby and responds to your calls for help; if not, you don’t have a lot of options.

3) If they showed you a gun during the robbery then the only running you should do is in the opposite direction.

You can avoid putting yourself in these types of situations by paying more attention to your surroundings, especially if you are talking on your cell phone or listening to your iPod.

If you are robbed and choose to pursue your assailant then do what this woman did. She chased the guy while yelling out for help and describing exactly what the problem was. This type of request for help tells police and potential witnesses what is happening and will allow them to take quick action.

Ed Kress
For over 40 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. With the help of local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed developed a program focused on personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains and a wide variety of martial arts techniques.

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