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Anatomy of a Mugging – Part 1

Oak Park Il Lake near Harlem by davidwilson1949

Recently five women have been mugged late at night either near their homes or workplaces in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park.

Four of these muggings share similar traits.

1) They took place near midnight.
2) The victims were approached from behind, choked, and robbed.
3) Crimes occurred near the victim’s home or workplace.
4) Muggings took place in the vicinity of Lake Street corridor.
5) None of the women were seriously injured during the attacks.

The third victim, Lisa Dodge, got a good look at the man and gave police a description of her attacker.  Oak Park Police released a composite sketch of the alleged attacker.

Lisa Dodge also gave a very clear description how the attack on her took place.  Hopefully we can take away some valuable lessons on how to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime.

“I just flew in from Arizona, I’m tired. I saw him walking into the courtyard when I was getting out of the cab. He was dressed normal and didn’t look suspicious. When he disappeared,  I assumed he went into his apartment.”

Would you have been suspicious of someone walking into your building’s courtyard late at night? 

He didn’t look suspicious, but what do you think muggers look like?  They try to look like everyone else so that they can get close to you.

She assumed he went into his apartment.  You would too, at least until you read about the attack on her, now you might want to approach the courtyard with a little more caution, and assume that he may be there waiting for you.

What are you going to do about it?

1) You could start by getting your keys out of your bag and into your hand.  You will either use them to quickly enter your building or as a weapon to defend yourself.

2) If you are carrying mace or pepper spray put it in your hand and be prepared to use it.

3) If you are going to carry a defensive weapon you better be trained to use it properly.  Many years of experience leading self-defense courses indicates the majority of people, who carry mace or pepper spray, have never actually test fired it.  They have no idea how far it will shoot and what the spray pattern will be.

“This person jumped out from one of the porticos and said, ‘all I want is your money.’ And I said, ‘I don’t have any money,’ and I just kept walking,” said Dodge. 

She says the man then jumped on her, bringing her to the ground and choking her from behind. As his grip on her neck tightened, Dodge fought back.

How would you handle it?

Keep in mind that Lisa Dodge had just returned home late at night and was tired from a very long day that included a flight from Arizona, which is not the best shape to be in when confronting an assailant.  This is not a great time to be thinking on your feet.  Wouldn’t you want to have thought through what your options might be before you have to face a dangerous situation like this?

Make sure to read “Anatomy of a Mugging Part-2” and learn how you might avoid being mugged.

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Ed Kress
For over 35 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. Along with local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed has developed a program which focuses on teaching 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 as well as their bodies. Ed began his martial arts career when he started wrestling in 8th grade, taking 1st place in the Chicago Park District City Championships. He later wrestled varsity at Mendel Catholic High School where he was a Chicago Catholic League Conference Champion. During his college career at North Park University he was a Conference Champion and 2-time NCAA Div 3 national qualifier. He was on his way to qualifying for the 3rd time when a neck injury ended his college career. His record that year was 17 - 0. He continues to wrestle as Head Freshman Wrestling Coach at Loyola Academy. A position he has held since 2004.

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