Here’s a short report of a Redmond, WA couple who returned home late at night (1.30am) and were robbed at gunpoint when they got out of their car.
Redmond is a suburb of Seattle and is best known for being the home of Microsoft. It is an up-market and prosperous small city of 52,000, and is generally blessed with very little crime.
We are going to risk being politically incorrect by citing another Redmond statistic. Only 1.22% of people in Redmond are African-American (source), as were the two robbers in this incident.
We’re not saying that all African-Americans in Redmond are armed robbers, but we are saying that the couple probably would have noticed the two men and recognized them as not being neighbors, and – sorry to say this – as not looking like the sort of people normally found in their nice neighborhood, either.
So here’s the thing. It is 1.30am, and you’ve just driven home, and are about to park your car outside your residence when you notice two strangers on the street with no apparent reason for being there, and who clearly look as though they are neither local residents nor likely visitors to local residents. Should you park your car as you normally would, get out, and walk along the sidewalk in close proximity to these two people, go to your residence, unlock the door and let yourself inside?
You are actually creating two vulnerabilities here, and it could be said that this couple suffered the lesser of the two outcomes.
The first vulnerability is clearly the one that occurred – getting robbed on the street.
The second vulnerability is the more serious one. You unlock and open your front door, and the two men suddenly rush you and get inside your home, where they can then, in private, do whatever they wish to you and your home. It could be argued that the couple in this case got off lightly – only a mild amount of personal injury and the loss of cash, jewelry and personal items.
So what should you do?
The easiest thing is that if you see people who look out-of-place, and who are present for no obvious purpose; simply keep on driving and come back in five minutes. If they are still there – ie, loitering, call the police and wait for their arrival before stopping and exiting your car.
And that is where a self-imposed political correctness constraint often comes into play. Many people feel awkward at calling the police and saying ‘there are two black men hanging around my residence, so I’m scared’. They don’t want to sound like paranoid racists.
We don’t want to get into the whole causal debate about why it is so, but we will simply cite the statistic that blacks are eight times more likely to commit robberies than people of other races (source). This statistic varies somewhat depending on how/where/when it is calculated, but whether it is eight times or perhaps a number that may be more or less, and whether it is due to the black robber-to-be coming from an unhappy home life or whatever else, the impossible to ignore fact is there is an elevated risk of being the victim of a violent crime when the potential perpetrator is black rather than white.
The police already know this, although they have to be careful not to ‘profile’, even though many people might think that it makes sense to concentrate the policing on the high risk sectors of society. So there’s no need to pretend that the issue doesn’t exist.
We’re not saying you should go to a heightened state of alertness just because you see an African-American on the street. But we are saying that you shouldn’t fight off a feeling of unease just because your sense of political correctness is trying to over-power your street-smarts sense of what feels out-of-place and uncomfortable.
And, more than anything else, we are definitely saying that the best outcome of any confrontation is to avoid the confrontation in the first place. If anything ever looks out-of-place and makes you feel vaguely uncomfortable, then if at all possible, take evasive action to avoid the possibility of any problem occurring. Sometimes all it takes is to cross the road. Sometimes – as in this case – it is better to delay your return home and drive around the block for a while, rather than leave the safety of your vehicle, and potentially expose both yourself and your residence to violent criminals.