Some Safety Tips While I’m Developing the Yokel App

Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Ed. Note: Crime is a very serious issue and you can see that in our daily posts. Having streets smarts will not guarantee your safety though they are important.

Tarnishing entire neighborhoods in the so called pursuit and guise of safety is not at all helpful or fair.

Thanks to the dozens of people who alerted me to this incident.

Apparently a WUSA news van was broken into while investigating a so called Sketchy neighborhood – in this case Petworth:

Ironically, the burglary occurred while the crew was working on a story about an app that alerts people of “sketchy” neighborhoods.

The crew had locked their news van on a street in Petworth in Northwest, D.C. while they were out in the neighborhood conducting interviews. When they returned they found the lock had been popped out of the door of their news van, and that the most of the crew’s gear had been stolen.

First let me say – I’m very sorry this happened. It sucks. Second let me say that I’m not intending to blame the victim here. What happened truly does suck. What I’m upset about is the seeming implication that this incident validates Petworth being a “sketchy” neighborhood. That and that alone is the issue I have. To combat this misconception I’d like to take this opportunity to announce that the Ben and Sylvia Gardner foundation have agreed to fund the development of a yokel app. Until that happens let me say a few more things and offer some advice:

First car break ins happen all over the District. Just ask our friends in the beautiful Cleveland Park neighborhood that deal with incidents like this on what seems like a weekly if not daily basis (if you follow their listserv.) Seriously, car break ins happen all over and the one thing we are repeatedly told by MPD and others is to never leave bags with or with out valuables in your car. It’s just not a smart thing to do – ever. Anywhere. Sadly, even in the middle of the day. Even in a beautiful, tree lined neighborhood like Petworth.

So here is some other advice that will be captured in the coming yokel app that we’ve gathered over the years:

2. Don’t leave your bike unlocked whilst you stop in to Starbucks for a coffee. Best to lock up your bike everywhere. Yes that includes places like Petworth.
3. When leaving an ATM don’t stop at the corner and take out your money to count it.
4. Similarly don’t walk home with $100 bills hanging out of your pockets.
5. Speaking of walking home, don’t walk home piss drunk from the bars signing Meatloaf’s I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) this behavior almost always attracts that unsavory element stalking our city.
6. Speaking of singing, don’t have your earbuds/headphones on and text on your smart phone late at night (really even not so late at night.)
7. When pregnant you should not smoke.
8. When taking ambien you should not operate heavy machinery.
9. And most importantly if you have more than 15 items don’t use the express lanes at the grocery store. Please I’m begging you!!!

44 Comment

  • Emmaleigh504

    When the store starts opening regular check outs when I”m there, I’ll stop using the express lane with a cart full of items. harrumph

  • I feel bad for the victims, but the whole story was pretty amusing, when I’m sure 99.999% of the people they talked to said that the neighborhood is completely safe, while their van was being burglarized. Too bad it happened in Petworth, because there are a LOT of neighborhoods where it’s far more likely to occur.

  • #15 reminds me of a Boston joke about supermarket checkout:
    Cashier: Hi – you must be from Harvard or MIT…
    Person: Yeah – how did you know?
    Cashier: Well the sign says 15 items or less. You either go to Harvard and can’t count or MIT and can’t read.

  • You gotta admit this is hilarious. I know people are concerned about the app, but the irony here is killing me.

  • Also, a reminder to people to watch their electronics at cafes and restaurants. In the past six months, I’ve seen a handful of folks abandon their iPhone, laptop, and iPad (and other belongings) to use the restroom.

  • If you walk by my house late at night singing meatloaf, there is a good chance I will assault you…so beware!

    Second I believe in Karma, and sure I do not wish bad things to happen to anyone…. BUT this news crew was providing media coverage for whats basically a racist app. Too much of me wants to say serves them right for even covering that non news story.

    • Karma is not real.

    • A racist app? Oh for heaven’s sake! This accusation of racism is thrown around so much these days that actual, REAL racism is overlooked. Please, save the accusation for serious incidents. If you’re not sure what serious incidents are just look at the Christians and Yazidi who are displaced, thirsting, starving, dying, and being rounded up and sold in the market places in Iraq right now because they’re the “wrong” ethnicity and religion, while we sit here and complain about “racist apps”.

      • It is ridiculous to call an app ‘racist’, but if you have to look to Iraq for ‘real’ racism then you are also guilty of overlooking real racism right here in the United States.

      • Um Katie? I don’t have to look outside this country, or even outside of this city for “Real racism”. And if you doubt that it’s here, that strongly suggests that your life has been privileged enough and insulated enough that you’ve never experienced racism yourself. Which strongly suggests that you might not be the best person to give the racism lecture…..

        • Thank you.

          Katie – please consider never using the term “real racism” – it’s bad for the same reason as “legitimate rape”. Just because it isn’t racism that typically results in physical violence doesn’t mean that it is any less real.

          • I won’t consider it, because I don’t need to be word policed. Please keep in mind that this is about someone calling an **app** racist, okay? It’s no more than that. I’m going to stand by what I said: there’s calling an app racist…and then there’s REAL racism where heads are lopped off, women are sold into slavery, and children are thirsting and starving in the mountains because they are hated for their ethnicity and religion.

          • So as long as women are denied the right to freedom somewhere in the world (e.g. Saudi Arabia), you won’t care about a pay gap between men and women in America for the same job? Because, by your logic, that’s not “real sexism”.
            See, you can have perspective about what’s worse, and still recognize that both are forms sexism.

        • Mr. Woodward, Mr. Bernstein, I’m afraid that since neither of you have been President of the U.S., your reporting on Watergate is uninformed and irrelevant.

        • I don’t think anyone who calls an *app* racist or agrees with someone doing so is the best person to lecture about racism either. My point about Iraq was to hopefully give a perspective of gratitude for how great we have it here despite our challenges — no society is without challenges, certainly not melting pots as diverse as ours. As for calling me “privileged and insulated” … wow, you have no idea who you’re talking to. It’s best not to make assumptions (“strongly suggests”) like that about total strangers.

          • Katie, if you get to make assumptions about what “real racism” is and where it can — and can’t be found, why shouldn’t someone get to draw conclusions about your statements — and wonder what sort of reality those conclusions are based in?

          • I’m not able to reply to Yet Another Total Stranger (there’s no reply button under your comment): Once again, my comment was in reference to the OP referring to an app as racist. Okay? Someone. referred. to. an. inanimate. object. as. racist. You should stop trying to make this about me and my personal life.

          • While technically inanimate objects can’t be racist they can certainly perform racist functions. Remember those “colored” and “white” signs on the restrooms and water fountains? Or the reasons why DC had Miner Teacher’s College AND Wilson Teacher’s College? I do. Remember Glen Echo? I don’t. Guess why? And at least as I read these comments, no one is making assumptions about your personal life. For all we know, you might be a robot. Or Ann Coulter. Or a troll. We/they are drawing conclusions based on your comments — which suggest a limited familiarity with reality. Now, granted, my “real” reality is probably quite different from your “real” reality. But that’s okay. It’s a mosaic — and I get that.

    • The app is a pretty big news story. It’s gotten plenty of national and international media attention. And people labeling it as “racist” is actually helping to publicize it. The irony is that the characterization of the app as racist is based upon racial stereotypes about who is likely to use the app and what they are likely to post.

  • I think it’s summarized best when during the video the reporter says, we found almost all our stuff with the trackers, in an “actual sketchy neighborhood, the kind of place stolen stuff gets dumped”

    SMDH, this app sounds like suburban fear mongering. There are sketch neighborhoods and then there are oblivious people, these reporters are definitely the former.

  • Oh boy. I lived in Petworth (6th and Quincy) for 2 years up until beginning of 2014 and I never personally experienced a single incident of crime — never even had a package stolen off the poch. And considering that DC is pretty crime-heavy, I felt really lucky to be in my neighborhood in Petworth. I even walked home the 2 blocks from the Metro often very, very late at night. I took the usual precautions and only a couple times passed someone I legitimately felt was “shady” (one was a guy who got off the Metro headed in my direction wearing a balaclava and it wasn’t cold outside!). Obviously, you have to be vigilant no matter where in the world you live.

  • indeed cars being vandalized happens all the time in all neighborhoods especially if you leave your prized belongings in the car in plain view. Too bad that these people use these news clip to create an image of Petworth as sketchy. Apps like this will be used by dumb people who are unable to discern for themselves when something does not look right or to be street smart.

  • binpetworth

    PoP–don’t forget the advice to not tie up your cute pedigree dog outside a shop and expect it to be there when you get back 40 minutes later.

  • saf

    I dunno dude – I prefer “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” when drunk-singing.

  • I’ll add – don’t buy a metro farecard from anything other than a metro fare machine.

  • “5. Speaking of walking home, don’t walk home piss drunk from the bars signing Meatloaf’s I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) this behavior almost always attracts that unsavory element stalking our city.”

    Umm, if you’re doing this action aren’t *you* the unsavory element?

  • Speaking of yokels, these guys apparently left ~$30,000 worth of goods in plain-sight, in the city. Good luck to them!

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