We are currently visiting with my wife’s mother in
Cleveland. Yesterday my daughter went for a walk and got mugged near Case
Western Reserve University. She was not hurt but lost her purse and contents,
iPhone and iPad.
She reported the incident to the police, came home and used
Apple’s online service
to locate the iPhone and iPad. Getting help from the
police was complicated by the fact that the location was near the intersection
of Cleveland, East Cleveland, and Cleveland Heights, each apparently with its
own police department, but eventually two East Cleveland police met us a block
from where the missing items showed on the online map. They went to look,
reported back that that side of the street was an empty field, and (reasonably
enough) that their searching the whole field was impractical. We asked about
our doing some searching, were advised that it was not a safe area for white
people (black, rundown neighborhood—one police officer was white, one black,
the mugger had been black).
Despite their advice, we did some unsuccessful searching,
hoping to find the iPhone by calling it, the iPad by making it beep. A woman in
a house across the street was curious about what we were doing, made friendly
comments. An elderly black man with a
cane came by, sympathized with our problem. We spoke with a group of elderly
blacks on a porch at the other end of the block, also sympathetic. One of the
women said she had found a coin purse about where we had been searching, was in
the habit of picking things up so had done so. She fetched it. It was the coin
purse (empty) from my daughter’s purse, she gave it back to my daughter, told
us where she had found it, was clearly very happy that her habit of picking
things up had produced a benefit. We searched some more without success.
After we returned to my mother in law’s apartment it
occurred to me that we could have located the items more precisely by combining
the information from the Apple page with other geographical information.
Eventually I used the satellite view on the Google Maps app on my cell phone to
determine that the items were probably in one of the dumpsters behind an
apartment building at the end of the block. So the next day (today) we
returned, posted some reward posters around the dumpsters. My daughter called
the phone. I eventually heard it ringing from one of the dumpsters, climbed in,
found the purse with the iPhone and iPad. The only thing missing that mattered,
other than money, was my daughter’s passport. I removed the posters. The man we
had spoken with the previous day passed again, I told him we had found it, he
was obviously happy for us.
One lesson was the usefulness of modern technology–if we had
not had the ability to track the electronic devices we would never have found
them and the purse. The other was support for a conclusion I reached decades
ago, after leaving something valuable, possibly my wallet or passport, at a
merchant’s stall in Teheran and having it returned to me. You cannot count on
everyone being nice, as illustrated by the mugger. But if you select people at
random to interact with, the odds are that they will treat you as a fellow
human being not an enemy or a victim.
Even in places that the cops warn you are unsafe for people
of your race.