In early Summer, there was criminal incident at a Lululemon store in Atlanta. A couple of teenage youths entered the store in an upscale mini-mall and did a snatch and go shoplift. A couple of the store employees confronted the young thugs by chasing them out of the store and then calling the police who arrested the thugs shortly thereafter. You would have thought the women employees would be rewarded and they were – by being fired by the CEO of the company for violating the corporate non-confrontational and non-police policy.
Just the other day, there was another criminal raid on a Lululemon store in Philadelphia. The store was closed so a gang of teenage youths smashed in the security gates and took whatever they wanted. Fortunately, there were no employees around to be fired but, amazingly, a few police officers did show up and arrest some of the thugs. (Oh, it was a mass robbery involving over 100 boy and girl thugs. The mayhem also involved Apple and Footlocker stores in the center of the City. It was near the Liberty Bell and where the founders signed the Declaration of Independence.)
I went to Drexel University but a few blocks from the looted area. At the time, the “bad” sections of the city were general known – Drexel University was a commuter school and the University of Pennsylvania was right next door. The students were warned to be careful at all times as muggings, thefts and worse were always a problem. (It appears that crime problems have metastasized, and the question is whether any major university can stay in an out of control inner city under conditions of constant threat.
I also worked at the then Philadelphia Naval Shipyard at the end of Broad street. Looking toward the center of the city, the Italian neighborhood was to the right and the black neighborhood was to the left. The food distribution center was in the Italian Neighborhood which was very carefully controlled by the mafia. (You never worried about personal safety in the Italian section although you often witnessed really interesting and well planned theft. I remember one day being in the Italian sector when a truck pulled up, Everything just stopped as the truck was unloaded and women raced to pick things up. There was no paperwork involved.)
The shipyard had its own crime. Lots of numbers runners and smart guys that knew how to steal cleverly. At Christmas time, the supply store was raided for Christmas presents. All anyone had to do was present a signed chit and get whatever the supply store stocked. (The signed chit was never actually signed by a supervisor and a scribbled signature sufficed.)
When I worked at the shipyard’s engineering center, I ran into a good ole boy “Gunny” sergeant like corporal Radar O’Reilly of Mash. Just ask and you would receive. Just never ask for too much as a Marine corps tank might show up addressed “To Whom it may Concern”.
Philadelphia was and still is a rough town, but a half century ago crime was relatively controlled and did minimal damage. Tain’t the case now.