“I wanted everyone to know so that folks can be extra careful and so that neighbors can be forgiving if someone refuses to hold the door for you”

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“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday when I came home there was a mysterious letter from building management on our announcement boards. All the message said was that a crime had occurred in the building and the police had been involved. I found the note incredibly frustrating in its uselessness (other than stirring up anxiety) and planning to email management later on. When I returned from the gym later in the evening, a crowd of women was at our security desk speaking to the attendant. One of them pulled me over and I found out what happened- a woman in our building had let someone in behind her and that man had followed her into the elevator and sexually assaulted her. [Ed. Note: The full police report is here and say the assault was attempted.] The man then tried to flee through the back of the building, but finding the gate locked, doubled back and ran through the front exit. The man and woman were caught on camera, and the woman apparently called the police and gave a description (the police also checked our security tapes, talked to management, etc; the woman apparently has not spoken to management).

Needless to say I am shaken. Of course I can be even more aware, hyper aware, but in reality there is no sure fired way I can prevent something like this. It’s terrible. I wanted everyone to know so that folks can be extra careful, especially us women, and so that neighbors can be forgiving if someone refuses to hold the door for you. I, for one, plan to start nicely asking folks if they have their key fob before I open the door and let someone in with me. If anyone in my building would like to connect about this (especially the woman to whom this happened), please reach out to Dan [[email protected]] for my contact information.”

18 Comment

  • Mr.Kitty & Poes

    I don’t care how rude I may come across but if I do not know the person trying to walk after me I never let them in. Regardless of their gender or ethnicity. You never know who they could be and what they would be up to.

    • Yes, I’m also one of the people who don’t let unknown people follow me in and get crap for it all the time. I’m so surprised when other residents in my building admit to letting whomever in. Why not just leave the doors unlocked then?

      To the OP and the woman assaulted, I’m sorry this happened to you and I hope they catch the asshole.

      • I agree with the comments above, BUT 8 times out of 10 the call box to call the residents is not working. Most times you can call someone if you have their number and your cell phone is handy, but sometimes you can’t. Just this weekend I visited a friend and the machine to call his apartment did not work. If resident’s want security, they need to make sure that all the security procedures are actually in tact in their building. Also, I had a disabled friend who lived in another building, and his buzzer did not work. I had to follow someone in each time I visited. This could have been avoided if the buzzer worked.

  • I also support folks being understanding if someone doesn’t hold the door for you. I’m reminded of the line in The Gift of Fear where the author says something along the lines of, “Good people will understand why you’re uncomfortable in that situation; it’s the ones that keep pushing you to do something you’re uncomfortable with that you should worry about.”

    By the way, that book is one of the most important ones I’ve ever read. I highly recommend it to all women; it’s a great reminder that we don’t have to be polite all the time, but particularly when we’re concerned about our safety.

    Hugs to the victim here. I hope she’s alright.

  • I’d rather be rude than a victim. Know your neighbours.

    • I agree with you, but in a larger building it’s almost impossible to know everyone, and there’s often a lot of turnover. I live in a condo building, and at this time of year, lots of owners violate the condo by-laws and rent out their place on one of the vacation rental websites, so there’s seemingly new faces every day.

      And having called the police for a drunk who followed me in one night, I can say that they were annoyed at having to remove someone from a private building. It’s not as easy as it seems to keep people from following you in, nor to get them out once they’re in there. Many of us are pushing for additional security in the building, but of course nobody wants to spend the money on that either.

      I’m glad that the woman involved is OK, but this is very scary stuff.

  • If the doors to this building are anything like The Majestic down the block, entry is granted by using a fob rather than a key. If someone walks behind you and tries to get in, there’s pretty much nothing you can do other than not entering the building yourself. The inside of the door is motion sensored, and will unlock the door if you stand there. The person can also grab the handle behind you, and since there is no handle on the inside of the door (and it’s motion sensored) you can’t grab it shut.

    A similar assault occurred in The Majestic back in 2012. Building management had a concierge company stay until very late for a couple of months, but that has since stopped.

    • This building is not like that, no motion sensors. I’m not sure how you would stop someone, whose intent was to harm you, from coming in behind you without physically pushing them out and pulling the door closed behind you. If someone you don’t know is hanging out on the stoop too close to the door or following too close and looks like they are waiting for you… maybe keep walking down Park? Not sure what else could be done in this kind of situation. Refusing to actively hold doors open for anyone unknown is a good start, but if someone wants to attack you they will try regardless.

    • This is Awkward

      Yeah, as per Welshie, we’d basically have to do the same move I do with my cat when I leave the house- which is keep him at bay with my foot while I pull the door shut behind me. It’s not impossible, but it’ll take some creative activity to completely keep everyone from going through the doors with you…

  • I live in this building and this scared me for sure! I’ll be sure to not let in anyone I don’t know (which includes 90% of fellow building tenants). Last night, I left a perfectly nice looking woman outside while I got the mail. I felt bad, but hey, take no chances, right?

    Apparently the woman who was attacked is illegally living in the building which is why she’s unidentifiable on the tapes and why she isn’t coming forward to management (at least that’s the rumor).

    • This is Awkward

      I live in the building too Welshie, hopefully this will encourage us all to get to know our neighbors better (though really, it’s a challenge in a big building). Side note, my neighbor got evicted recently, wtf is up with our building and renegade tenants?!

      • Are you on the 5th floor too? One of our neighbors mysteriously fled overnight and we keep seeing service papers taped to his apt. door from the property management company. I keep wondering what went down between them.

  • Reason #12304474 Why cloning fobs is a bad idea.

    • This is Awkward

      Kind of unrelated. This was a total stranger that slid in behind someone. Not a boyfriend or girlfriend of a tenant, not an airbnb user, not someone who magically found a fob and figured out what door it opened….

  • unfortunately, the “regardless of their gender or ethnicity” policy is almost always directed towards certain groups disproportionately more than others…

    • I’m not sure what your point is here. “People will subconsciously discriminate against some genders or ethnicities when allowing others to tailgate them into the building, so . . . ” What is the remainder of the sentence? Let everyone in until we can be sure that calling out tailgaters is even-handed? Is it unfortunate (although understandable) if people subconsciously profile? Yes. Should it preclude awareness of and efforts to stop tailgating? No.

      • it could very well be conscious discrimination and rightfully so. I know there are no Black or Hispanic men living in my bldg. I see no reason anyone in the bldg should try to look pc and ignore such an obvious fact. For places where it’s practical, getting to know your neighbors is the only way to ensure the extra scrutiny is appropriately placed.

    • I’ll be honest, I don’t let men in behind me. Any of them. I let women in fairly often, but I never let any man I don’t recognize in behind me. I know about 6 of the men in my building, and I’ll let them in. If you are a man who is not one of those 6 that I know, I’m shutting that door.

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