A+, APD. For real.

Last night around 11:30 I heard someone out on the street saying, “No, no, no!” I muted the TV, perked up my ears and heard what sounded like a girl laughing. ‘Probably just a guy playfully chasing his girlfriend,’ I thought, but the woman continued saying, “No!” and it was sounding more desperate. My boyfriend got up, looked out the window and bolted towards the door. As he did he said, “Someone’s getting mugged out there. A girl’s bleeding. Grab my shoes.”

We shot outside, half-shod, and by then our neighbors from all sides were coming out of their houses, too. Two girls were sitting, one crying and gasping, on a front stoop, being comforted by our next door neighbor who told us that her husband had chased after the muggers (god love him.) The crying girl said that there had been a group of kids, maybe five in all, with at least one girl in the bunch (probably the one I’d heard laughing. Psycho.) The kids had demanded their purses, then once they’d been handed over, one of them kicked her friend in the face. She was bleeding from her mouth and was quiet, not panicked like the other girl. This girl was just pissed.

It seemed like the police were there in a matter of seconds. It couldn’t have been more than two minutes between someone calling 911 and them showing up. Suddenly our street was swarming with cops, detectives in unmarked cars, EMTs and firepeople.  They tended to the girl who was injured, got descriptions of the kids, and radioed other officers nearby to start looking. Normally in these situations, as a bystander, that’s where your involvement in the story ends. The authorities are there, there’s nothing more you can do, you make sure everyone’s good and you go home. You go to bed on edge and have a hard time falling asleep. You hope that they catch the kids and that the girls get their purses back. But you’ll probably never know

We’re living in the future though, folks, and, of course, feeling helpless, all I could think to do was to tweet the description of the kids the girls had given, and where they had headed. One kid had been in an orange hoodie.  Moments later, Erin bounced back:

And then:

I LOVE YOU, TWITTER.  Seriously. And a big thank you to the Albany Police Department, whose instantaneous response was not only impressive but effective. They were kind to the girls and made them feel safe. And, best of all, they caught the kids. Lots of people probably slept a little better last night, (except for maybe Erin, who had to deal with 1000 watt flash bulbs outside her house for a while.)

Maybe I'm crazy, but an event like this does not terrify me or make me want to leave my neighborhood. If anything, it reinforces why I love living in Center Square. Neighbors come out of their houses en masse to help people, even chasing possibly armed muggers. Everyone looks out for everyone else. I refuse to walk my street in fear, I just refuse. It's nice to know that, god forbid, something bad should happen, people are going to have your back in a big way.

*UPDATE: The names of 4 of the 5 people arrested were released. I feel like I should revise this post and replace every incidence of, "kids," with, "ADULTS who should KNOW BETTER."  Here's an article from CBS 6, but for my own pleasure, I'm listing the names of the offenders here, too.  Your mothers should line you up and knock your heads together. So happy that your pics are there, too. Hope to meet you on the street some day, assholes!

The following people were arrested and arraigned Friday in Albany City Criminal Court:
- 19-year-old Brittany Easter of Albany
- 18-year-old Quayvan Young of Troy
- 20-year-old Roscoe Erving of Albany
- 16-year-old Jameela Fredericks of Albany
- A 15-year-old being treated as a juvenile, who was arraigned in Albany County Family Court


Roz said…
Hooray for the good guys! Let's hope that Psycho Girl and her merry band of hoods (including the real sicko who had to kick the girl in the face AFTER stealing her purse) get put away for a while. Hope the cops refer the parents of these little darlings to CPS if they are underage.

Hooray for you, your boyfriend, your neighbors, and the good cops of the APD that no one ever hears about.
Rich said…
This is a great entry. It's nice to hear about a situation like this actually resolved. If more people got involved, all of our neighborhoods would be safer.
Jen said…
This kind of informal neighborhood watch has been going on for decades in Center Square. A neighbor of ours vividly describes the time, way back in the eighties, when two neighbors came out into the street fully armed to help a girl who was being attacked. I've lived and worked all over Albany and I've never felt more safe than in Center Square.

Plus, I love the bike cops who stop to chat with people on their stoops.
Rob said…
Terrible situation, great response. It's inspiring to hear a story about people pulling together to help one another.
Leigh Cummings said…
Jen, I feel very lucky to live in a (to a certain extent) self-policing community. It's worth noting that in the four years I've been in Center Square this is the first incident I've witnessed. Still a pretty decent record.
Hey Leigh, I happened to see your blog on Fridaypuppy. We went to High school together actually, I live in the Center Square area too. I have been mugged too, and it is horrifying, but like you I refuse to leave Center Square. The sense of community is strong here, and this is a prime example of its strength. I hope that the girls are okay, and I hope that like my offenders they get bitch slapped with incarceration.
G&&SE said…
I hate these f%cking cowards, I wish they'd run up me with that bullsh&t.

God bless good neighbors and competent officers, we need more of each.
christy douglas said…
Awesome to hear that the offenders were caught. An incident like this happened a few years ago to my sister, who was harmlessly sitting on a stoop minding her own business when a group of kids (teenage girls) approached her and told her to hand over her handbag.

It's scary. I'm constantly struggling with the images of children bullying adults when en masse. Half the time, I'm like, are you for real? you're 13 kid.

Hats off to social networking sites and police, for today.

Very well written Leigh.

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