I am not going to lie and pretend crime does not exist. I think we all need to be educated and aware especially going into the low season.
I was almost robbed Sunday afternoon at 4:00 pm at the street corner by Taste of Thailand and Amal Hardware. A guy riding his bike rode up behind me and started to grab my bag off my shoulder. My first response was to shout “Hey” loudly. I managed to grab the straps as they were passing down my arm, timed with the motion of him riding past and pulling it forward. Thankfully he did not have a tight grip and I was able to gain control of my bag fast.
At that point, I really wanted to shove him hard and knock him over but since there was no one else around I pushed forward instead and shouted at him “don’t be rude that’s mine.” He kept going north on the back road and never looked back, I turned the corner fast and booked it east to the beach and to awaiting friends.
It all happened so quickly I did not get a good enough look at him other than to say short black hair and navy blue shirt, never saw his face or caught the color of his bike. My immediate feeling was the same as when my beach cruiser tire popped while riding and rang loud and sudden like almost like a gunshot.
As for the romance part of this post’s title and the reason I was walking down that side street in the first place. I was contemplating a big center for San Pedro Red Cross. It has always made me feel inspired to go look at one of my favorite empty buildings, visualize the possibilities and ask the universe to send us something great so we can move ahead with our work. What happened makes me even more driven for the San Pedro to have a large Red Cross Center so we can run community programs to help those that are open to learning a better way to get ahead. It will also be a place for youth to learn skills to help them make the best choices they can as they rush towards adulthood.
What I did and did not do after the fact
– As soon as I got away from the corner, I immediately Facebook messaged Paul and Kendall (the last 2 people I had been talking too) to let them know I was almost robbed.
– Next, I booked it fast to Crazy Canucks, my original destination. Jo Belize spotted it right away that something was up. Along with Paul and Kendall getting back to me right after seeing my messages, a whole bunch of great people comforted me and made sure I was okay and got home safe.
– Alerted Owners Rob and Krista of Canucks and Wade and Kathy of Roadkill Bar what just happened in their neck of the woods.
– I did not go to the police right away as my details were not good enough.
– Although Jane and Kendall told me not to walk home and Colin offered me a ride, I opted to take the main road and walk home before dark. I stopped and checked myself first and the bottom line was I felt safe and as I told Kathy who thoroughly agreed, walking and listening to music is what “I do” and I will not allow anyone to take that away from me.
The Morning After
I posted to Residents only Ambergris Caye Crime stoppers and San Pablo/Marcos neighborhood watch Facebook pages along with the picture of the corner where it happened. From there I learned about 2 self-defense options detailed below and 2 security cameras that the unsuccessful thief would have passed. Thanks to having just sent pictures of my favorite empty building and the text after my scuffle I was able to track the time it happened down to a 2-minute window and am hoping Taste of Thailand or FC’s Aluminum can catch a picture on their cameras.
I am a firm believer of the 24h – 48h rule depending on how impulsive and or irrational you can be. I tend to recommend that as a waiting period before someone is about to send an emotionally charged email. In this case, it is allowing time for a real-life event to process what happened and how I feel about it. My body has a less jacked up feeling but still not back to normal. My emotions are the same as yesterday, a mixture of sadness and anger. Walking while running mind movies to visualize and problem solve while listening to music is one of my favorite pastimes and I am not ready to let some desperate ill-mannered person take that away from me.
This morning in Gchat, my friend Shirlee told me she was glad I stood my ground and how the message at Sagebrush church yesterday was very fitting to my experience – The sermon about how we can’t let fear guide our actions. I also believe we have to balance that with awareness and smarts. Far too many people let themselves get too drunk on this island and open themselves up to negative opportunities late at night. If it can happen to me, a feisty sober taco at 4:00 pm on a Sunday, imagine how easy it would be to target late-night people wearing alcohol goggles.
I just followed up on both security camera leads. Unfortunately, John’s Camera at Taste of Thailand isn’t live right now due to needing a new hard-drive. (Anyone have a spare tech stash and may have the right thing to help make that corner safer?) FC’s Aluminum has the ability to save video and the guy I spoke to said he would get his boss to check and took my number. I mentioned to him time is of the essence in case the feed is only stored so long.
I would like to thank the Mayor for having Jorge and his assistant Yolanda and reach out to me to get my contact info for him so he can personally check on me and see what he can do to help.
Compile in writing and get printed point-form facts and pic of the location to bring to the police. Depending on who I am talking to I will mention that I would love to see the addition of a pinpointed map so people know which spots to look out for and we can all do our part to beef things up, stay safe and make it harder for criminals to fly under the radar.
I am strongly considering checking out Zen Arcade MMA classes with Martin Dawson every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7:30 for self-defense and the Brazilian Martial Art Capoeira with Marissa Tellez on Thursday afternoon at 3:30 kids; 5:00 adults. I figure doing one of those in addition to Rose Alcantara’s Pilates will help me be more of a force to reckon with in all aspects of life. For now, I am visualizing myself strong and safe while practicing my hooping. Note to Kevin and Heather (my new neighbors) – if you hear an occasional crash, I am practicing 🙂
I also told Shirlee we need to get Renee Wentz back here to teach more self-defense classes. She is an excellent instructor that specifically works with girls. Her class covers what to do in extreme situations as being choked, smothered by a pillow or gun involvement and gives some very good tips for general safety in daily life.
Although realistically I would classify it as a bad short-term decision. Had I been a little more brushed up on my defense moves I would have loved to tangle him off his bike and open a can of whoop @ss. Well, I least in my empowered whooping state of mind 🙂 – in reality, I would try to get my memory-challenged dyslexic brain to capture details and get the hell out of dodge.
Except for the fact that I am not going to live in fear, what happened to me almost makes a good case for carrying my tazer and zip-ties 24/7. If someone messes with me after dark they run the risk of getting bug zapped and hogtied 😉
This was not my first brush with Belize Crime, and have done 2 previous posts about it:
- From Crime to Cream Puffs – featuring my take on things getting stolen. A worldwide issue.
- Tips for Surviving Low Season on Ambergris Caye – featuring tips to help you be smart and possibly help catch a criminal through evidence. Since I wrote that post, I know someone who caught a thief because of his footprints in the sand. The pics in my post definitely show a shoeless footprint that is clearly recognizable should it have been needed as evidence.
Since my glass is always half full I am leaving you with better pictures than the scene of the crime. I figured since it was my destination before the unpleasant afternoon incident, a nice dancing on the beach series from Sunday Jam at Crazy Canucks to lighten the mood just like it did for me yesterday – thanks to everyone who had a hand in that 🙂