Monday, May 28, 2012

New York: Two California Women Assaulted, Robbed by Assailants in Niagara Falls

According to the Niagara Falls, NY-based Niagara Gazette, two California women were reportedly physically assaulted and robbed during the early morning hours of Saturday (May 26). The incident occurred in a parking lot in the 100 block of Niagara Street.

The incident occurred when two unidentified suspects approached the women while they were at their car.

One of the victims was apparently shoved from behind and into the backseat of the car, at which point a handgun was brandished in front of her. At that point, She handed over her purse, which the man emptied onto the ground. She told police he took her wallet with $200 inside.
The second victim, who was sitting in the front seat of the vehicle, told police a second individual approached her and demanded her valuables. When she hesitated, the second assailant grabbed her purse from her hands then struck the victim in the cheek with the butt end of his handgun. Her purse contained four credit cards, her driving permit, passport, a Samsung camera and a cell phone.

COMMENT: The suspects, one described as a black male between the ages of 16 and 18, and the other, described as Hispanic, age unknown,  are still at large.

In a third reported incident in less than 24 hours, a tourist’s car was broken into later on Saturday in the Third Street lot of the Sheraton hotel. A tourist from Maryland told police that someone pried open a door to his car sometime between 2000 hours on Friday and 1800 hours on Saturday. Stolen from the vehicle was a GPS navigating unit, a cellular telephone charger and an iPod converter. Earlier on Saturday, a Michigan woman and a Pennsylvania man reported vehicular break-ins in the same lot.

One topic that I spend a great deal of time on in my Safe Travel workshops is teaching travelers how to observe and detect that they are being surveilled or watched by would-be criminals. Acquiring this skill often permits would-be victims to take corrective action before they are victimized.

One suggestion that I can also offer in cases such as these is for motorists traveling in another state or country to carry a photocopy of their driving permit and/or passport in the glove box of the vehicle. Thus, if their wallet is lost or stolen, they can continue to function in dealing with authorities.

Motorists are also urged to ensure that anything of value be concealed in the vehicle's interior. What I normally do is have a small rubber tub wedged into the back seat floor of my vehicle, in which I place all valuables that are inside the vehicle. Then, placing a used towel over the tub, it has less attraction to would-be thieves.

If traveling in potentially high-crime areas or areas you don't know well, consider having shatter-resistant film installed over the interior windows, which holds the glass in place, even if broken or shattered.

A final thought. Consider having a SILENT car alarm installed on your vehicle that notifies you by remote device that your car is being tampered with. That way, you can call the police.