1.27.2009

Account of a Crime

A good friend of the blog sends his account from a harrowing incident in his NOLA neighborhood up near Bayou St. John over the weekend:

I was awakened at 5:30 Saturday morning by the door bell. Although I was half asleep and quite confused, I knew that the doorbell at 5:30 in the morning means that something is wrong. I got up and was heading downstairs as my dad was at the door checking to see who it was. I hear this woman screaming and crying on our doorstep. Then the word RAPE pierces through my confused, sleepy stupor and I'm alert and, to say the least, very startled. I come downstairs and my dad has let this woman in who just keeps screaming "He tried to rape me!" 

She is hysterically crying and sobbing. Eventually she calmed down enough so she could tell us what happened, at which point we called the police. She lives about two blocks away from my house in a basement apartment, where a masked man had gotten into her bedroom to presumably rape her. She said she awoke to this switching noise when she realized there was someone attempting to turn on her burnt out bedroom light. She yelled "Who are you? What are you doing here?" and when she didn't hear a response she said she knew she was in trouble. When he realized that she was awake and aware of his presence, she said he began to approach her with a blanket and was reaching for something in his pocket. She then bolted for a window to escape when he told her "You better not go for that window." Getting an incredible adrenaline rush, she burst through the window as he whiffed at her hair. She was all scraped up from the window ledge but then ran down the street screaming and banging on people's doors until she reached our house. 

I have to say that the way the police handled it was very frustrating and disappointing. The dispatcher called back to our house to tell us that the police were at her apartment and that they would be over to our house to check on her shortly. So we're waiting and then the dispatcher calls back and tells us that she needs to go back over to her apartment to meet the police. 

They want this attempted rape victim to walk back in the dark to the scene where she was almost raped thirty minutes ago!? What is that!? She's sick with fear and bruised and scraped up and probably needs medical attention. But my dad drove her back over to her apartment. She just walked back into the bedroom and immediately touched the light switch to indicate to the police what the intruder was doing--there went those fingerprints. She picked up a lamp that had fallen over and really just spoiled the crime scene until the cops finally told her not to touch anything else.

So my Saturday got off to a rocky start. The incident itself was startling and frightening and then the deficient police work made the already bad situation worse. The crime situation in this city is absurd. And I feel powerless to help the situation. I'd like to tangibly help, but what can a citizen or group of citizens effectively do? Marches and nights out against crime are great, but I don't see them having any effect.


I don't have any good answers off the top of my head.  Fortunately, it appears that the suspect in the matter has been apprehended.