Out in the open, gone in a flash

November 16, 2011 1:26:29 PM PST
Just in case you find yourself thinking that things have really changed and that living in New York City is like living in Mayberry, RFD when it comes to petty crime, consider this: An electrician, heading to this reporter's abode, parks on Manhattan's busiest business street, leaves his wares next to his truck, and then walks a few feet to the muni meter to buy a parking stub for his windshield.

By the time he returns to his vehicle, the new light fixtures he was going to install were gone. In less than 60 seconds.

I know, I know - he should have kept it all in his van, or taken the goods with him to the muni meter. He should not have left his stuff in the open.

But the rip off of my electrician got me thinking about how lackadaisical many of us have become about this stuff. I moved to New York City in 1992, and man-oh-man, it was all about keeping your eyes open, and yourself always alert, and be ready in case someone tried to rip you off. I started always carrying some cash, so if someone approached me and demanded money, I'd do what all my pals said to do: pull out the bills, throw them away from me, and then leave in the opposite direction. No thief would walk away from money on the ground. And this way they wouldn't get to your wallet.

I still do this, and I've taught my son to do it. I suppose by revealing this I'm guilty of the same rose-colored-glasses vision that my electrician experienced today.

But the hard truth is, especially in a horrible economy with so many people out of work, crimes of opportunity still exist. And despite the "safest big city in America" hype, anyone can be ripped off anytime and anywhere. So the next time you think you can just leave your car running while you dash around to the trunk, remember my electrician today.

I'm just sayin'.

Now to our 11 p.m. newscast, and the Occupy Wall Street movement - banned from camping out at Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, but still very much active. In fact, they're planning a "mass day of action" tomorrow on the 2-month anniversary of OWS. The planned civil disobedience - and that's certainly what it sounds like in the advance p.r. - includes "shut down Wall Street" at 7 a.m., and "Occupy the Subways" at 3 p.m. ? showing up at 16 subway hubs.

The theme, in addition to commemorating the 2-month anniversary, is to "resist austerity, rebuild the economy, reclaim our democracy."

We're with demonstrators tonight at 11, as they plan tomorrow's activities.

Also at 11, Sandra Bookman takes a look at the high-tech way of dating these days, and we're not talking about dating web sites. We're talking about doing some due diligence on would-be date mates by looking them up on the Internet. Pretty cool story. And don't tell us you haven't done it!

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg with his AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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