Like me, some victims of violent crimes feel nothing can be done
“Just stab him in the face.”
That’s what I heard while I was being mugged at 16 years old.
It was about seven or eight o’clock, and my friends and I were heading home from a movie in Kensington. Like any other time, we got on the CTrain. But after a few stops, firmly in downtown, four men walked onto the train.
One of the men began harassing me. I kept saying I didn’t want any trouble, but he wasn’t listening. He said he had a gun, and he was going to kill me right there on the train.
Fear ran through me. The entire time he was talking to me, he had his hand in his pocket. All I could do was stare and imagine what he could be carrying.
The tension escalated, until his buddy suggested that he shouldn’t pull out the gun and shoot me. I turned to the man and gave him a pleading look.
Just when I thought I had a friend in all this, the man — my new best friend — encouraged the crazy guy to stab me in the face instead.
Getting stabbed is terrifying. Getting stabbed in the face? Even worse. I begged the man to leave me alone, but he had a psychotic look in his eyes. I was convinced it was the end.“Getting stabbed is terrifying. Getting stabbed in the face? Even worse.”
-Evan Manconi, Journalist
Thankfully, when all hope seemed lost the two other men — having finished robbing my friends behind me – took my cash before I could get murdered. They left us more or less intact, but had to drag the crazy one away from me. He still really wanted to kill me.
I was considerably shaken and felt helpless, but I never went to the police.
Why victims aren’t reporting
I’m not the only one who was faced with a violent crime but didn’t report it. According to Statistics Canada’s 2009 General Social Survey, 69 per cent of violent victimization was not reported to the police.
So why didn’t so many people, myself included, report these crimes? The survey suggested the most common reasons were:
• Believing the incident was not important enough (68 per cent)
• Thinking there was nothing the police could do to help (59 per cent)
I didn’t feel like there was any hope of catching those guys. Instead of going through the trouble of dealing with the police, I just wanted to go home.
Believing nothing can be done
Photo illustration by Pauline Zulueta/Calgary JournalSteven Barber, a student at the University of Lethbridge, recalls a similar situation when he was mugged on a CTrain platform. After the incident, Barber went to a police officer standing only 25 feet away.
“Hey, I just got mugged. The guy is just walking away, can you do something about it?” Barber asked.
He said the officer told him it was his word against the mugger’s, and there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
“He basically gave me no hope of getting any sort of justice,” Barber said.
What police can do
Calgary Police spokesperson Michael Nunn said, “We welcome any crime to be reported to us. In fact, we encourage crimes to be reported.”
Nunn said reasons why a person should report a crime include not only allowing police to deal with isolated incidents, but to also better understand crime as a whole. He said if a number of crimes are reported in a particular area, they could better utilize police resources to prevent further crimes.
Nunn added when violent crimes — such as a mugging — occur, there are investigative measures that can be taken. If the incident takes place in a public area, he said police could try to identify suspects through security cameras.
While crimes such as theft or damage to property are easy to deal with because they can be reported online, any type of direct attack must be reported directly to police, as there are direct suspects involved.
“There is a misconception that we might not be able to deal with it, or we don’t want to deal with it, or it’s too small to deal with, and that’s certainly not the case. We want people to report to us.” Nunn said.
To report a crime:
• Call 9-1-1
• Call (403)-266-1234 for non-emergencies
• Report directly to an officer
• Theft or damage to property can be reported online