Arlington Virginia attacks and stupid advice


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ZeSpectre
June 5, 2007, 03:33 PM
Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/30/AR2007053002299.html?sub=AR)

We've had a series of assaults recently which prompted this article. Emphasis in the article was added by me.

ARLINGTON
Women Stalked by Man With Plastic Bag

By Daniela Deane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 31, 2007; Page B03

He tries to throw a plastic bag over women's heads as they walk alone at night in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor -- he's done it at least three times -- but each time the women have fought him off, Arlington County police said yesterday.

An earlier attack also may be the work of the same man, who approached a 32-year-old woman from behind and groped her, this time without the bag, police said. In each case, the suspect has fled.

Arlington police are encouraging women not to walk alone at night. If they must, police are urging them to stay in well-lighted areas and be aware of their surroundings. They are also encouraging any woman who is attacked to draw attention to herself.

"They should yell and scream or blow a whistle," Berke said. "They should not be on their cellphone or listening to their iPods, unaware of their surroundings in the wee hours of the morning."

The latest plastic bag attack occurred at 2:27 a.m. Tuesday in the 1100 block of North Vernon Street, when a 25-year-old woman walking down the street heard someone running up behind her. She turned and saw a man reaching with a plastic bag toward her face, police said. The woman screamed and pushed the man away, and he ran off.

"To say this has a sexual motivation is still just speculation," said Lt. Brian Berke, commander of the homicide/robbery unit of the Arlington police. "He's not communicating, and he's taking off."

The Tuesday attack came less than three weeks after another woman, 22, walking alone at 2:38 a.m. May 10 in the 4000 block of Washington Boulevard, experienced the same thing.

About a month earlier, April 16, in the 1400 block of North Nash Street, a 35-year-old woman was walking to her car about 11:30 p.m., when she was attacked from behind by a man who placed a plastic bag over her face and tried to pull her backward.

In the first attack, which occurred March 5 on North Key Boulevard, no plastic bag was involved. Police think it could be related, however, because of the victim's description of her attacker and the way he approached her. That incident happened at 9:45 p.m.

Police don't necessarily advocate fighting back, however. "We don't know what's going to trigger this guy," Berke said.

Berke said this is the first time in recent memory that Arlington police have dealt with a plastic-bag attacker, although there have been other such incidents across the country. "It's not like this person invented it," he said.

The suspect is described as a black male, in his late 20s to early 30s, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall, with a medium build, wearing dark clothing.

I think my head nearly just exploded. A man assaults young women, tries to put a plastic bag over their head, and the police say you shouldn't fight back? That's just insane!

I think the part that gets to me the worst is I've dealt with Arlington police any number of times and believe them to be a first rate department....but this foolish advice just boggles my mind.

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FieroCDSP
June 5, 2007, 03:39 PM
Sounds to me like the cops should be planting an attractive female officer to get this guy. I don't know about you guys, but I'd consider someone trying to put a bag over my head as intent to kill.

Jkwas
June 5, 2007, 03:50 PM
how do you blow a whistle with a plastic bag over your face?

Dan from MI
June 5, 2007, 04:23 PM
Police don't necessarily advocate fighting back, however. "We don't know what's going to trigger this guy," Berke said.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy it? :rolleyes:

I'm absolutely sick and tired of the passiveness of this society.

eric_t12
June 5, 2007, 04:24 PM
how do you blow a whistle with a plastic bag over your face?

LOL Good point +1

romma
June 5, 2007, 04:37 PM
Be a good little sheep... We'll notify your next of kin, and look for the guy that murdered you. :barf:

TallPine
June 5, 2007, 04:45 PM
How many of these attacks have to happen before we enact reasonable plastic bag control?

:rolleyes:

romma
June 5, 2007, 04:50 PM
plastic bags can elude airport security!!

glummer
June 5, 2007, 05:07 PM
And no one needs plastic bags to hunt deer, either!

Oh, wait - they are sort of handy.

LeafsFan
June 5, 2007, 05:17 PM
Police don't necessarily advocate fighting back, however. "We don't know what's going to trigger this guy," Berke said.

If he runs up to a woman, shoves a bag over her head and starts dragging her away I think we can safely assume that he's already been triggered.

+1 on the other advice about being aware of suroundings and not zoning out on the iPod while walking alone at night, however. That's just good old common sense.

Henry Bowman
June 5, 2007, 05:58 PM
I've been hearing about some California cities banning plastic grocery bags. Now I understand why.

Police don't necessarily advocate fighting back, however. "We don't know what's going to trigger this guy," Berke said.Let's hope this quote was grossly placed out of context by the author.

HiroProX
June 5, 2007, 06:09 PM
Their advice, should be a crime for them to even utter.

If that's the best advice cops can come up with, I have to ask the question...

What use are cops?

Henry Bowman
June 5, 2007, 06:21 PM
Police don't necessarily advocate fighting back, however. These are the author's words, not the cop's. No quoted language advocates not fighting back. The cop may be as infuriated as the rest of us with how his words were twisted. We don't know what quotes were not included by the author and we don't know what questions were or were not asked by the author/interviewer.

How much do you trust Daniela Deane and the Washington Post? I'm not defending the Arlington police so much as simply warning you about the media.

obxned
June 5, 2007, 06:30 PM
In the woods, three shots are a distress signal. If these women would fire three shots, I'm sure their situation would improve even before help arrives.

TallPine
June 5, 2007, 06:42 PM
obxned :D

tinygnat219
June 7, 2007, 01:46 PM
Wow... I live in Alexandria, VA which is close. Time to start avoiding Arlington.

SWMAN
June 7, 2007, 02:37 PM
"We don't know what's going to trigger this guy," Berke said.


I think once he's attacked his victim its a little too late to worry about antagonizing him. Why am I not shocked at that kind of PC advice from a N.VA jurisdiction PO. I would be shocked if he'd advised women to carry a self-defense weapon or fight back.

mbt2001
June 7, 2007, 03:11 PM
Nut jobs walking around at insanely late hours armed with plastic bags targeting chicks....

The police can't stop and idiot like this??? What, is he a midnight grounds keeper that thought the chick dropped a gum wrapper????

oobray
June 7, 2007, 03:35 PM
If the police made any sort of ascertion or recomendation against fighting back it was definately to avoid law suits. I know here at my university (where I am studying criminal justice) it has been said in class many times that victims should not fight back against robbers. Only give them what they want and they will likely go away. While it is true that many "robbers" that have been interviewed express the idea that they are not likely to hurt anyone who doesn't fight back, there are those who say that they like to hurt people. I'm not going to take my chances. Also, it says something about society when we (<-- society) are unwilling to defend ourselves. There was a time when the country looked down upon such ideas as rolling over. Ever heard of a shotgun wedding?

Kali Endgame
June 7, 2007, 05:02 PM
Sounds like they need a police decoy.

Mr. Bowman,
That was San Fransisco. The bags were making a serious mess(which only added to the filth) and getting blown into the bay, which resulted in small loveable animals dying.

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