The Aftermath: City Streets Are Not Safe Zones

Welcome to Aftermath, a portion of our First Line email newsletter where Attorney Anthony L. DeWitt walks you through a real-life self-defense incident and shares his key takeaways.

Indianapolis’ Canal Walk, a frequent tourist destination, is a beautiful pedestrian loop full of bars and restaurants. However, 2 a.m. is not a good time to be strolling there. Though the city is not known for exceptional crime, criminals are attracted to places where people spend money. In June 2020, there were more than a dozen shootings on the Canal Walk in a single weekend. Brandishing a weapon, one 14-year-old robber attempted to steal a man’s wallet. The defender shot the assailant multiple times and then called the police. Medics took the assailant to a nearby hospital while the defender stayed on scene and cooperated with police. He was not arrested.

What precautions do you take if you plan to visit busy areas that could attract criminals?

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Nothing good happens outdoors after 10pm.

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OK, I must confess. At one time in my life I was that kid roaming the street at 2 a.m. We didn’t do armed robberies but we weren’t always on the good side of the law either. That said, What do I do in tourist traps. Situational awareness. I have a pretty good idea what to look for, how these groups of criminals operate in a crowd so I watch for coordinated movements of 3-4 people. Wallet goes in front pocket with Velcro strip. When that gal that has way too much energy wants to ask me where I’m from I go condition RED, walk away, eyes WIDE open, 360 degrees of attention.
Ask around, not where to to go, where to eat but where NOT TO GO.

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The best precaution is to not plan such visit.
If I don’t have to, I do not visit any areas that could attract criminals.

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I intentionally plan on not visiting San Francisco.

But, some tourist spots like Las Vegas, I visit with heightened situational awareness.

I was in Salt Lake City last week and I gave my daughter a heads-up about the crime situation there so she didn’t know it but she’s condition yellow the whole time.

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Great example of visiting sites you want to see but you are afraid of visit is vacation time.
I unusually avoid flying to places that I know are not pleasant by default… but unfortunately they are still attractive and are the must to be visited… :no_mouth:
In such cases

  • first - avoid time after dusk
  • second - situational awareness
  • third - don’t walk alone
  • fourth - always be prepared and have an “escape plan”
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How’d you like SLC?

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I try to apply the rules of stupid whenever and wherever I can.

Don’t go to stupid places
At stupid times
With stupid people
Doing stupid things

Breaking one might be ok but 2 or more is a no go. Stupid people, places and activities can vary. It’s up to you to be smart enough to figure that out.

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Unfortunately, I/we avoid downtown Chicago as much as possible. And, that is hard when you love some of the food, attractions, entertainment, etc. that is still/was downtown.

Cook County has same stigma for very good reason.

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Very few things of man’s creation interest me especially those at which large crowds gather. I prefer God’s creations and sparsely populated areas.

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My place of birth and where I was raised. I love to visit downtown Indy. The canal walk did not exist when I lived there. It is a bit isolated, particularly later at night.

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I live near a small town in Indiana, about 75? miles from Chicago. Won’t go there. Sorry to our friends that do enjoy Chicago’s attractions, but for me it’s a no go. we have some fine restaurants, State Parks, entertainment that to me are entertaining enough. County festivals, town festivals, car shows, antique shops, lots of things to do.

I agree, I prefer God’s creations and sparsely populated areas. I hate being crowded, and having people so close as to breath down my neck. I always believed in the 3’ rule.

To those that do enjoy crowds-- no offense-- you do you I’ll do me. Geno

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I have a bunch of family in Bourbon.

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I didn’t explore it much. I went to Lehi and Lindon, I like the crowd better there.
Payson is much like a Nor-Cal small town.
I love how I have almost 360 deg. view of mountains. Must be lovely in Dec-Apr.

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I’ve had a lot of really good experiences outdoors after 10pm:) They just haven’t involved going to places where a bunch of people I don’t know are hanging out and drinking excessively.

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Hard pass :grin: not gonna risk encountering four-legged and crawling creatures

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One of the more memorable nighttime/early mornings I have had was hiking in the jungle several hours before dawn so we could climb to the top of one of the pyramids at Tikal to listen to the jungle wake up and watch the sun rise.

Lots of large stealthy things moving around in the jungle at night though the small no legged snakes are probably the most dangerous thing out there.

I feel much safer in the forest or jungle at night than I would walking down a lot of city streets in this country after 10pm!

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My wife wants to travel to these tourist destinations some day. While we won’t be out late, crime happens at all times of the day. I need to work out some plans.

Thoughts include: non-lethal weapons, fake wallet fattened with paper (would criminals check?), real wallet to stay alive for the next day, regular carry gun if I ever start to do that.

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My Buck Knife from USCCA never leaves my pocket wherever I am headed. Nor does my tactical flashlight that hangs on my waistband. A face full of that would really ruin someone’s day. And the wad, keep it in your pocket with a lead sinker weight or a hefty wallet and throw it far away. Crooks will go after the prize, not you. And, I do carry my Equalizer (S&W) in a belly band or tactical compression shirt, and have a lock box chained to the car seat base in case I have to go to a hospital or somewhere else guns are not allowed. Have learned all of this through USCCA and a local instructor who came to the house to check security.

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I am in construction and attended a job site meeting at 6:30 AM on Michigan Ave,
It was daylight and someone was robbed at gunpoint 100ft from the entrance to the building. There are so many “Gun Free” zones and places in Chicago and Cook county that one has to plan their trips carefully. The criminals… I mean “Justice affected individuals” do not follow the law. They know the penalties if caught are small, if they are ever prosecuted by our activist States attorney. Zero $ bail in Illinois under a law called “The Safety Act”. (I couldn’t make this up). If they shoot someone and are somehow charged and convicted, and not pleaded down to disorderly conduct , a five year sentence in IL is really only 2 1/2 years , unless you murder someone while in prison. The police are severely limited and even when shot at , it is not unusual for the “Justice affected person” to file a civil suit against the City and the Police. At times I think it is better not to carry and just pray they don’t kill you. The five rules to justify self defense means little, IMHO It is not uncommon for the News reporters when reporting on a police shooting to say, “It is not clear who shot first”. So much more… In Illinois all gun owners need to apply for a FOID card. To get a CCL you need 16 hours of training, including: back ground check, safety, the Law, and range qualification…

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