Saturday, November 05, 2005

Out come the freaks

Train security in California (left) and Auckland (below)

In London muggings are up 40% and iPods are the prime target.

In Merseyside, muggings were up 35% with young people targeted for iPods and phones.

In San Francisco there have been at least 20 people robbed of their iPod on buses in the last month.

The other day on the train a guy with faraway cold drug-fuelled eyes kept eyeing my iPod.

One of the good things about the trains –so far- has been that you don’t strike the smelly drunk people you find swaying down the aisle on the buses at night and trying to engage people in rude conversation.

But trains have get more popular – and there are lots of new faces since the new timetables were advised in a junk mail drop (oddly some of the regulars have vanished. Did they want to keep the trains exclusive to their club or have they given up?)

And as night services start, the oddballs are now using the trains.

The other night a strange man sitting by himself in one of the side seats kept talking to himself, then to imaginary people, then to those standing demanding someone had to sit next to him. Finally someone did to shut him up and was subject to odd questions everyone in the train could hear. Like his full name and address and where he had bought his clothes and why.

The guard, a woman, looked a little nervous as she went through the carriage wondering what might happen and whether she was equipped to handle it.

Then last night a man also sitting on one of the side seats kept asking the guard odd questions like why chickens cross the road (actually how one gets from one side of the tracks to the other) and demanding phone numbers to ring if you lose something. He might have been legit but it all went a bit strange. An odd mating ritual if you ask me.

So it’s good to see Connex putting guards now on night trains and at certain rail stations like Kingsland.

There around 10pm, gangs of 14 years come out of the bushes to do tagging or rob the odd person waiting for a train.

Thankfully private security firm, First Security is now watching over the area nightly and during the weekend.

In Sydney, night trains in the last year have seen their share of muggings, and even women being followed and raped.

In parts of the US, security cameras are being placed on the trains recording people getting on and off – a move funded to watch for “terrorists.”

Let’s hope the trains keep safe. It’s a shame we live in a time such security guards are needed and it’s good they remain reasonably inconspicuous unless needed.
On the iPod (until its stolen): Was Not Was Out Come the Freaks


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