Last night, I was chatting on my phone, walking west along Bloor St. about fifty feet east of Spadina, when a man came at me quickly, sucker-punched me in the mouth, ripped my phone from my ear and tore off across four lanes of traffic. I screamed. But like me, pedestrians were so caught off guard, no one really knew what to do. The thief had disappeared before I could really even make sense of what had happened.
My first move, which I’ve since learned was the wrong one, was to find the nearest Second Cup and call the friend I’d been speaking to. I was concerned that, after hearing my abrupt scream, she would think that something crazy had happened. I wanted to let her know that I was okay. But wait, something crazy did happen! WTF!? Did somebody just punch me in the face on a crowded street at 10:30pm? In the Annex? What is going on?? It’s more common than you think.
I grabbed a taxi home, called Rogers, made some tea, updated my FB status, put the dog in the yard and only after all of that did I decide that, perhaps, I ought to call the cops.
“Maam, you should always dial 911 right away. If you had called from the scene, cars would have been sent immediately,” said the dispatcher.
A cop car was sent to my house and within ten minutes, the doorbell rang.
“Why didn’t you call right away?” They asked.
“Well, I wasn’t hurt badly, and I figured my phone was long gone. I didn’t think it was an emergency.”
And it isn’t really an emergency, but any kind of theft like this is, as the cops explained, a “high priority.” Like the dispatcher on the phone, the uniformed team in my living room relayed that cars would have been sent immediately. There are lots of police in that neighbourhood, and it is very possible that they could have tracked down the culprit. Also, it’s always best to give a statement at the scene.
“Is your iPhone registered with Find My iPhone?”
“Oh, I wish it was.”
This GPS system has been incredibly successful in tracking stolen phones. Live and learn.
In review, here’s what you should do right now:
- Back up your phone.
- Register your phone on iCloud so that you can wipe it clean immediately.
- Always put a lock on your phone. (Although futile, in my case, as he grabbed while I was on the phone.)
- Download the FIND MY iPhone GPS tracking APP NOW.
- Be cautious walking and talking alone at night.
- If you are assaulted, SCREAM LOUDLY and communicate what is happening, “He just punched me and stole my phone.” If you aren’t clear, pedestrians will likely assume it’s not important or turn a blind eye.
- Do a quick scan of perpetrator. Clothing, facial hair, tattoos, shoes…etc.
- Ask someone near you to call 911. Immediately. In fact, don’t ask someone, turn to a person and say, “Please call 911!”
- After dealing with the police, call your service provider.
Once all of this is done, then it is the right time to have a herbal tea. I kinda did the reverse.
After the initial shock, I began thinking, “Oh well, I live in a big city, walk around a lot… something like this was bound to happen sooner or later.” That’s actually a pretty messed up way of thinking. I was assaulted and nothing about the situation is okay. In fact, it was pretty scary.
I share all this because I would never, ever have predicted this would happen, and want to warn you that it is happening, frequently. There have been five reported street robberies in the Annex in the past month alone.
~ Jen McNeely