Property crime in San Francisco: a tradition unlike any other.
As I was waiting for my transfer bus last evening, I noticed a dude sort of hiding out in the center median of the avenue, looking back and forth at the bus stops on either side. I half thought nothing of it because honestly it’s not all that weird, and half thought that dude must be looking for an opportunity to rob someone. For much of the time I was waiting for the bus, the guy remained on the median, continuing to look back and forth, scoping out the scene.
I grew up in the ghetto part of town - back when San Francisco had such a thing, so I am well-trained at not making myself an enticing robbery target. I almost never take my phone out; listening to podcasts is all I do during the commute, so the iPhone stays in my pocket the whole time. I even use the cheapest pair of black in-ear earphones I can find on Amazon, so to avoid the extra attention a set of AirPods or Beats headphones would attract. I don’t wear any jewelry, and on particularly hot days where short-sleeve t-shirt is mandatory, I even take off my watch and put it in the backpack.
It’s about making myself as less of a potential target as possible.
Sure enough, the dude in the median was indeed looking for someone to rob. A few minutes before the bus arrived, he and two other guys walked over to our side of the avenue, pass the cluster of us waiting at the station, and proceeded to quickly snatch the phone off the hands of an unsuspecting woman behind us. After that, they swiftly got into a waiting car, and sped off. The victim had no chance.
Even with activation lock technology rendering stolen phone unusable for the next person, I guess there’s still a lucrative parts market. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a coordinated attack by four guys simply to steal one phone. Though now that I think about it, that woman probably wasn’t the only victim that night.
Welcome to the richest city in America!