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My place of observation for analyzing a crime spot was a café and bar located in a nearly shady neighborhood, located at the far end of some shops, cornering an isolated alley, which remained isolated most of the time. This neighborhood harbored people belonging to a working class, underprivileged and working hard all their lives. Normally expected in an area like this would be lots of rebellion by the youth, people probably not literate enough because of their lack of resources and low incomes.
The youth in such areas is usually tough and not keen on staying at home. The place is riddled with cars and homes that are small and far from being posh. There are small shops that do not provide luxury items, or good and are specifically made to cater the needs of these people who are apparently making a nominal earning. Therefore, the café and bar that was under my observation was one place where there seemed to have been some better use of money and it was so far a well-developed place in the area. However, one thing about this place was its ability to attract people from the surrounding areas who worked or went to colleges nearby since this bar and café was a place known for good food and atmosphere, hence despite the odds of the shady condition this neighborhood offered, people from different walks of life preferred to come here and dine in and stay till long hours.
Usually, the place remained open till after midnight, long after it was well dark, and there seemed almost nobody in the night except for those who came to the bar and café with friends or alone. In the day, there remained the usual hustle and bustle of the residents of this area.
The organization of this place runs with the lives of the people because they make it the way it is. Life is structured around people waking up in the mornings, houses resonating with bickering and quarrels, people banging doors, children typically unresponsive to parents and their groups walking off to schools together. There are some teenagers one can spot smoking away as they meet their other friends who are indulged in similar activities. Cars, buses, taxis and pedestrians are what are seen crowding this area in the day. In the day, there isn’t as much of a suspicious feeling surrounding the neighborhood as it gets when night falls. The dark streets are illuminated by scanty lights, not providing enough light to illuminate the path that people walk on. Also, night brings with it people of all shades and colors, where it is hard to tell which person is the one a person can trust and feel safe with and who isn’t. At night, the café and bar are usually full of people and many who stay till late hours in the night. There one can see that there are people who linger in the alley, outside the bar and café inspecting the cars or looking at the people inside because the windows of the café are plain glass and the interior is visible outside.
As there is a bar as well inside the place, one would usually hear quarrels or disputes among people who get too drunk, and they tend to create disruption. It isn’t necessary people that are not influential or mediocre in class that get drunk and act this way, there are sometimes the richer and affluent ones as well who, if not accompanied by anyone or are travelling without a chauffeur, stumble out alone and are unaware of the fact that they are being observed by many eyes, many of which are not necessarily in good favor of them. There are usually no security guards or police patrol officers at this hour. (Johnson et al., 2010).
The area offers access to all alike without controlling any person. The bar and café serve everyone without discrimination, and they do not even bother if there are people outside, watching and observing the people inside. The alley is an area that is off-limits for those who wish to reach home safely and in one piece because it is rumored as an area where there would be thugs or criminals or drug dealers potentially lurking in the darkness. The control that the police kept on these people was insufficient because during the days of observation, these people did not once quit or stop coming neither did they has any special fear from the police or patrol cars. In fact, all they did was hide further in the shadows and wait for the police to resume their patrol. The crimes they committed were unacceptable yet these people were apparently unstoppable as well. (Consumer Reports, 2014).
The information gathered from these people was through observation and checking the times that these people came out to get at their business. The people who hung about the alley were mostly young, teenagers or probably emerging in their twenties. They would wear hoods, trying to make their identity as secret as they could and not be recognized by anyone. What was most noticeable was how these people first came in groups and then scattered off in ones and twos and sometimes a solitary figure would be seen in front of the bar and café checking the people inside. These people seemed to be noticing what the people inside the café held with them; whether they came in cars, what cars they drove, what they carried with them, how did they look in appearance as if they could judge the wealth and status of a person merely by looking at their faces and appearance.
The crime that was most commonly observed here then was that of cell phone theft, snatching and mugging especially during the night. The individuals involved in the crime, being the potential drug addicts or children of very poor and unstable homes needed a means of the sustenance which they found conveniently in the form of snatching others of their belongings. The neighborhood’s bar and café was one place where these people would come across other people who had exactly what they needed. (DailyMail, 2014).
These muggers or thieves, as one would now call them, would observe people who carried phones in their hands or were talking to people on their phones. They would also observe what phone they actually had. The ordeal would take place at night when the time and atmosphere served these people best. Once or twice during the day they would have a go at it and snatch a person careless of their phone and run off into the dark, mysterious alley without leaving a sign of them. People would pursue them but then come back hopeless because these thieves had obviously run off to a secure place as they had formerly planned.
It was nighttime that was the most crucial one especially when people were alone, and the area was secluded because it was dark. These men would then saunter close to the cars of the people coming out of the café and bar, pull out a knife or a gun and ask them to give their phones and money or else they would shoot them. A shooting was barely witnessed because the poor victim would save their life and give their belongings away without quarreling or resisting against them. So almost on a daily basis these criminals would continue harassing and bothering people, depriving them of their belongings with much ease.
The potential doers of this crime are teenaged men and sometimes women, but mostly it is the males who are strong enough to snatch, and overcome their particular target. The females that assist them are just like them, apparently on drugs and short of money which is why they have to resort to other crimes to keep their supply going.
Their targets are the vulnerable elements of society, women, drunken rich men and young people who apparently have no idea of self-defense and protecting themselves from such criminals. The usual way it goes is that at night there is usually less crowd and as the bar and café stay open till late, there are many people who visit this place to pass their time and have a good time with their friends. They are being watched by these criminals outside, unaware that they could be potential targets because they probably have a shiny, new Smartphone that one has his eyes on, or probably a woman is wearing sparkling diamond earrings that someone can get his eyes off. These people are the most vulnerable to attack and mugging by these people.
The place is subject to these crimes, yet no serious measures are taken to curb the issue. There appears to be no security guard or camera present outside the place, and neither does anyone bother to put one up, even though, the place desperately needs one. The manager of the barf and café also doesn’t seem to be bothered because his place runs just as well even though it is unsafe for the customers he has invited in. Furthermore, there are no steps taken by the residents that whether the alley that has been the root of all the danger that comes down here needs to be closed or blocked so that no one can hide and get away with crime. There is quite a lot of carelessness and incompetence in handling the crime.
There are certain measures that are taken by the people and security units at the spot. There have been boards put up on the bar and café that customers need to take care of their belongings, be aware of pickpockets, etc. It means that the owners and residents already know that mugging and cell phone snatching are an issue in the neighborhood that the others need to be informed about.
The police are active with regard to taking action and on one occasion the criminal was not as lucky as he thought he would be when he snatched a drunken man’s cell phone and tired to run but the patrol cars were on their way and they had witnessed the entire incident and caught the man in time.
However, during the late night of the hours there are no police cars and no security measures as keenly taken as they should be. Late diners are often robbed and deprived of their belongings, and there is hardly anyone there to cater to their needs.
Crime prevention is a much-disregarded area in this neighborhood because there is no control over the drug issue that these teenagers and adults have, moreover the needs that they have developed have led them to crime. Sometimes there are people who are on the verge of being shot or stabbed because they would resist, however, this does not happen frequently. There is no check over their weapons either as many of them have been observed to carry guns with them which might be stolen and unlicensed and the authorities need to get to the root of these people and find them out. (Parascandola, 2011).
The crime can be prevented, or brought down to a low level if only the authorities and the managerial staff of the bar and café would be willing to take concrete steps in order to curb the situation. The first and foremost step should be to install CCTV cameras all over the place; the front of the bar and café, inside the place as well and also somewhere in the alley so that the area can be monitored well, and there can be due action taken against these criminals. The drug situation needs to be dealt with as the police need to capture those people who sell and buy drugs, and they need to be held accountable for their deeds.
The other step is supposed to be taken by the people themselves who must be watchful of their surroundings. If they notice any person watching them or observing or following them, they need to inform the police as soon as they can because that can prevent a possible crime from happening and not only themselves, but they can also help to save the lives of many other people. (MobileNewscwp, 2015).
Also, everyone needs to take timely action against these people. One must know that thieves and muggers are very crafty and they can snatch a phone away without even making themselves noticed, however, if anyone sees a person who is acting suspicious or seems a possible threat to safety and security they need to inform the police.
And as far as the police are concerned, knowing that the area is a potentially threatened one where a lot of crimes are committed especially at night, they need to station a car in the neighborhood that keeps strict vigilance over the people and their activities, which can seriously help to bring down the crime rate. (The Crime Prevention Website, 2014).
ConsumerReports.org. (2014). Smartphone thefts rose to 3.1 million last year, Consumer
Reports find. Retrieved (19 April, 2015) from http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/smart-phone-thefts-rose-to-3-1-million-last-year/index.htm
Daily Mail. (2014). Mobile Phone Crime Soars. Retrieved (19 April, 2015) from
Johnson et al., (2010). Theft of Customers' Personal Property in Cafés and Bars. PopCentre.
Retrieved (19 April, 2015) from http://www.popcenter.org/problems/cafe_bar_theft/print/
Mobile News cwp. (2015). How to keep your phone safe from thieves. Retrieved (19 April, 2015)
Parascandola, Rocco. (2011). NYPD: Thefts of smartphones and iPads now more prevalent than
cash as criminals turn focus on electronics. NYDailyNews. Retrieved (19 April, 2015) http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nypd-thefts-smartphones-ipads-prevalent-cash-criminals-turn-focus-electronics-article-1.987406
The Crime Prevention Website. (2015). Mobile Phones. Retrieved (19 April, 2015) from