Tonight was the promised meeting at the clubhouse, and if the fire marshall had showed up, we'd likely have all been in jail. I'm sure that by the time everyone filtered in, we topped 100 residents. I was surprised that no TV cameras were there, but at the very end, there was a young man (who wasn't too far off the perp's description, but in dress shirt and tie) from Indianasnewscenter.
John from management emceed, introducing us all to our courtesy officer Chad Thurston, who is actually the third shift FWPD supervisor for our quadrant. After explaining to us when to call him (After calling 911 first for even a suspicious person report, and after the fact discoveries or reflections) and when not to (for broken furnaces- ya had ta be there), he in turn introduced Mike Joyner from crime prevention.
Mike carried most of the meeting. His main task was to remind us that we are "2,000 sets of eyes" to assist the FWPD in their job, and to go over the things we can do:
1. Be observant- what is odd, strange, out of place?
2. Be a good witness- get details as much as you can.
3. Stand tall- the more confident we seem the better the chance he won't have the guts to strike.
4. Make NOISE- he doesn't want to be noticed. One girl in q&a suggested keeping a rape whistle handy, which Mike said was an excellent idea.
5. Get to know your neighbors; be prepared to help out.
6. Porch lights on at all times; blinds open when you're home, so he knows there's the potential to be seen.
7. Know your surroundings, since he obviously does.
Among the things discussed about the perp:
1. This last attack, he was wearing a ball cap and a "military style black flak jacket that came to his waist" according to the victim, who was there. This is somewhat different that the long black jacket and stocking cap that was described in the first three attacks.
2. He did get the gun wrestled away from him this time, and it had rounds in the thing. Joyner is hopeful that that means we will get prints.
3. They are convinced he has a getaway driver, because of after the fact witnesses and the fact that the dogs tracked him to a spot and lost him.
4. They profile him to be a north-side resident (sorry, Bob, not one of yours), possibly a former resident.
5. I asked about the possibility of a connection with the guy they got on picture at the gas station on Coliseum last night. The vic said it wasn't the same guy, to which I suggested that maybe the driver handled that one. Mike said in response to all speculation that A) they're analyzing all leads and B) needless to say, there were some things that the cops would not release.
Q&A included a lot of what should we do to defend ourselves. Some suggested arming oneself with Mace, pepper spray, guns, and tasers. (One woman said she heard that you should arm yourself with wasp spray, since it shoots so far. Mike questioned the efficacy of carrying around such a big can, and suggested that pepper spray shoots pretty far, too.) Mike's response was, if you do, you'd better A) know what you're doing with it ( lest you get caught, as often happens, in pepper overspray, or get your weapon taken from you, or, my personal probability, end up injuring yourself with whatever it might be. He suggested that you are better off A) letting him know you know he's there (IOW pay attention to people behind you), B) Draw attention, i.e. the rape whistle, C) do the things to make yourself less of a target (i.e. don't park in the darkest of corners, have someone to call that can come out when you arrive (my suggestion), don't carry a purse where it can be seen, avoid having both arms full with bundles, and D), give him what he wants- personal property can be replaced.
As the night wore on, the questions became more of a mild bitch session, and the crowd began to disperse. Mike took his last question, thanked everyone, and we were all basically escorted home by several lights-on cruisers who were doing a drive-around a la two nights ago. (Mike said this "wasn't staged, it's what we're doing", but I kinda wonder.
Anyway, that's the story. Tune in for more next time.
Oh, and just for the record vis-a-vis my last post, Average Girl was inundated by the ferociousness of her followers' support, and has returned to the blogging world, including the "he said-she said" contest. Any of you that like good poetry should check out yesterday's battle where the contestant of each gender was to write a poem about the beauty or attributes of the other gender. They weren't funny; they were fantastically good. Do yourself a flavor and check 'em out.