Author Topic: Weird conversation with coworker  (Read 1526 times)

MrsWolfeRN

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Weird conversation with coworker
« on: May 01, 2018, 04:09:13 PM »
So I was talking with a coworker about free places to park that are within 10 minutes walk of our work. She made a comment about being afraid to walk because of "so many things happening downtown lately " I asked what happened but she changed the subject abruptly. I checked all of the local news websites, but I couldn't find anything too concerning (some crime but mostly domestic or gang related, nobody was attacked by a stranger).  So either

a. This person assumes there is crime but doesn't know what she's talking about
b. There is crime but the news doesn't report it or it was too long ago to still be on the website
c. She is making up excuses to pay for closer parking


Edit: I have long heard rumors from various people about a secret crime wave in my town that is covered up in order to project a certain image for a certain large employer. I'm not sure if any of it is true or not, or if this person actually has information or is just believing the rumors. I have seen no evidence of any of this, at least not enough to justify paying for parking.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 04:27:24 PM by MrsWolfeRN »

zoltani

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 06:27:19 PM »
I don't have an answer for you, but i do know that not all crime is reported. In San Francisco I saw someone get shot a half block away from the cable car turn around. I looked and looked in the local news for an article or blurb about the shooting to understand what happened, nothing. I suspect the city did not want to advertise a shooting that happened half a block away from a major tourist spot. I am not sure how they have power over the news to not report something, but there must be multiple vested interests.

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Stache-O-Lantern

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 09:28:48 PM »
My guess is your option C is the correct one.  She has an excuse, and you responded to it with a rational question about evidence.  What were you thinking?!  Empathy and agreement were probably the expected response.  No one wants their beliefs, much less their excuses, questioned with forthright queries about evidence.  Ain't no one got time for that!

Also, it may be that it is a mistake to ever underestimate the lengths people will go to avoid walking.  This is hard for me to realize, because I like walking.  But the older i get, the more i think it explains a lot.

FINate

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2018, 11:07:45 PM »
Crime is routinely under-reported in Santa Cruz. Don't know that I'd call it a secret... perhaps the world's worst kept secret. The main local paper has a preferred narrative, shall we say, and tries its best to ignore crimes that don't fit said narrative.

Stuff like assault, theft, vandalism doesn't get reported. Even deaths involving really bizarre circumstances like a guy who got himself killed in a Safeway parking lot after his vehicle got stuck in reverse and smashed multiple vehicles before running getting run over himself (http://www.santamierda.com/2018/03/16/the-weekly-dump-3-16-18/ in the "More From UnSafeway" section) didn't make it into our local media. This story had weird and interesting written all over it, the kind of stuff the media loves, and yet nary a peep.

The under-reporting of crime has gotten so bad that a number of groups (e.g. santamierda -> translation "holy shit!") now have people monitoring police scanners and incident websites, along with eyewitness reports from regular citizens, who then blog and report on what's actually going on. Because the mainstream media can't be bothered for whatever reason.

A recent incident of a transient trying to rape a woman in broad daylight at a busy intersection, who was eventually stopped by bystanders yet then proceeded to strip naked and masturbate in public before attacking a police officer got rather slim media coverage, and that only after some of these alternative media groups brought attention to it.   

It's annoying when you see multiple cop cars, and LEO with guns drawn, and other emergency services operating in your neighborhood yet there's zero reporting on what happened. And weird that there's a sense that we the people have to keep the media honest.

I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss someone's concerns of crime unless you know for sure what's really going on in your city.

dang1

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 12:10:33 AM »
if your local police is not already https://www.crimemapping.com

talk it up in neighborhood online outlets like nextdoor.com Our neighborhood also has a yahoo group. And there are also numerous city-wide facebook groups

koshtra

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 12:19:24 AM »
Yeah, my mother-in-law was much given to dark statements about "so many things happening downtown lately!" (or in this district! or in that district!) The things referred to could be twenty years past, or in another city entirely, or they could be things that had happened in the fictional downtown of a television show. Asking for details was rude, or at least unsporting. You were supposed to shake your head and sigh about how everything had gone to hell.

She was genuinely frightened, and she really did think the city was a dreadfully dangerous place. But the interchanges weren't for swapping information about levels of risk: they were about having her alarm validated and taken seriously.

I never did figure out how to supply the needed emotional support without reinforcing the (to my mind) extravagant sense of peril. Mostly I shook my head and sighed about how everything had gone to hell. It seemed like the kindest response.

sparkytheop

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 06:30:32 AM »
Our paper publishes the police reports.  "Smaller" crimes never make the news, but should be in the police reports.  Our paper is also horrible about publishing anything online.  I heard someone was hit by a train, but you couldn't find anything online about it.

Sometimes people are just weird.  My ex-in-laws would talk about moving to the Oregon coast (from Oregon not-coast), but decided against it because of "all the gang problems".  I have never heard of any gang problems in that small coastal town.  But, they are just weird.

accolay

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 08:36:33 AM »
People are weird. I've had the same conversations with people I work with when talking about me parking a ten minute walk away when I used to drive.

However, her excuse about crime could be because she doesn't feel safe walking and it's easier to say it's about crime vs. "there are lots of shithead men who wont leave me alone."  A huge number of women don't want to have to deal with being cat called or stalked as they walk down the street. It doesn't tend to make them feel particularly safe. And it happens all the time.

Freedom2016

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2018, 08:44:42 AM »
Yeah, I woudn't underestimate the safety aspect. A woman walking alone faces different levels of risk than a man does.

tyort1

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2018, 08:56:13 AM »
They might also have formed their opinions about safety during the past and don't realize how much safer our country has gotten.  This is a good graph to show what's current:

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NoStacheOhio

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2018, 08:57:57 AM »
You're not in Cleveland, are you?
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jezebel

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2018, 08:59:38 AM »
I feel pretty safe walking in my city, but as a woman walking alone, I definitely feel uneasy for a moment or two on a regular basis.  It may not often be warranted but it is instinctual.

koshtra

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2018, 09:18:46 AM »
Oh, it's warranted. I keep a wary eye when I'm out on the street too, and I'm a burly old white guy nobody's likely to mess with. But most places the perception of danger has gone up while the actual danger has gone way down.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2018, 09:21:44 AM »
Yeah, I woudn't underestimate the safety aspect. A woman walking alone faces different levels of risk than a man does.

Huh, I read an article once about how men are actually at greater risk then women of being injured in an attack by someone who is not known to them. I also saw a documentary about how the way a person walks is the greatest predictor of whether they become a victim, so if I ever feel uneasy I make sure to walk more confidently with a long stride and large arm swing.

The times of day involved are when there are plenty of people about so I do not feel unsafe. In winter it is dark in the morning but I am aware of my surroundings and have never had a problem.  I also haven't been catcalled in years and the only times I have been sexually harassed were by co-workers and customers at a former job.

katscratch

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2018, 10:34:59 AM »
I travel alone around both my cities regularly, by transit and on bike/foot. I am definitely not worried on a daily basis about being attacked or injured by someone face to face.

I do however deal with harassment on a daily basis. Usually subtle and part of our culture, ranging from the typical dynamic of women needing to shift slightly out of the way for men to walk by to men benignly commenting that I look nice in various wordings. For myself, I notice it in a sociological context but rarely find it bothersome, and the more aggressive harassment is usually easy to shut down.

For someone who hasn't experienced the dynamic of just existing as a woman around people in public, I can see how it would be intimidating even without a fear of actual crime.

It sounds, however, like your coworker is more like mine, that assume I'm going to get murdered on my way to the train stop. I have been given mace by more than one highly educated colleague, to which I've asked if mace will stop a texting driver from hitting me on my bike, because that's the only real danger I've seen in six years of self-propelled commuting ;)
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merula

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2018, 10:43:00 AM »
They might also have formed their opinions about safety during the past and don't realize how much safer our country has gotten.  This is a good graph to show what's current:



This is good, factual data, but I'm dismayed by how the Y-axis has been distorted. Instead of going from zero to 700, it goes from 300 to 700. If you're not paying attention to the axes labels, the line seems to imply that crime is down by over three-quarters, while a more representative Y-axis would show that crime is down by about one-third.

tyort1

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2018, 10:57:32 AM »
You are right.  It's common for data to be presented that way (ie, a shortened Y Axis), but you need to be on the lookout for it. 

Another interesting way to look at the data is # of violent crimes per X number of people.  It gives you an idea if crime is growing or shrinking with population levels taken into account:



When population is factored in, the data looks even better (ie, we are safer, much safer, generally speaking).
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PoutineLover

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2018, 10:58:29 AM »
Where I live I feel pretty safe most of the time, but there are still times that I get catcalled or followed, even during the day, and even on busy streets. That sort of experience, combined with the possibility of past sexual harrassment and assaults, might be enough for someone to consider parking in a place that is perceived to be more safe, regardless of the actual statistics. I wouldn't knock someone for choosing a route that makes them feel safer, even if it costs a bit more.
I am also pretty sure that being told to "walk more confidently with a swing in your arms" is not going to make her feel any safer, and may actually feel victim blamy to a lot of women. I am a pretty confident person, but that hasn't prevented men from yelling obscene things at me out of their cars, following me down the street asking for my number, or slapping my ass in public. Just because you don't experience harassment doesn't mean nobody else does.
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tyort1

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2018, 11:08:19 AM »
Where I live I feel pretty safe most of the time, but there are still times that I get catcalled or followed, even during the day, and even on busy streets. That sort of experience, combined with the possibility of past sexual harrassment and assaults, might be enough for someone to consider parking in a place that is perceived to be more safe, regardless of the actual statistics. I wouldn't knock someone for choosing a route that makes them feel safer, even if it costs a bit more.
I am also pretty sure that being told to "walk more confidently with a swing in your arms" is not going to make her feel any safer, and may actually feel victim blamy to a lot of women. I am a pretty confident person, but that hasn't prevented men from yelling obscene things at me out of their cars, following me down the street asking for my number, or slapping my ass in public. Just because you don't experience harassment doesn't mean nobody else does.

I totally agree with you.  As I get older (I'm a guy, btw), I see more and more just how much hostility that women face on a daily basis.  A lot of it is really subtle (although some is not so subtle). 
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OtherJen

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2018, 11:33:27 AM »
Where I live I feel pretty safe most of the time, but there are still times that I get catcalled or followed, even during the day, and even on busy streets. That sort of experience, combined with the possibility of past sexual harrassment and assaults, might be enough for someone to consider parking in a place that is perceived to be more safe, regardless of the actual statistics. I wouldn't knock someone for choosing a route that makes them feel safer, even if it costs a bit more.
I am also pretty sure that being told to "walk more confidently with a swing in your arms" is not going to make her feel any safer, and may actually feel victim blamy to a lot of women. I am a pretty confident person, but that hasn't prevented men from yelling obscene things at me out of their cars, following me down the street asking for my number, or slapping my ass in public. Just because you don't experience harassment doesn't mean nobody else does.

I totally agree with you.  As I get older (I'm a guy, btw), I see more and more just how much hostility that women face on a daily basis.  A lot of it is really subtle (although some is not so subtle).

Yep. I'm not about to stop taking long walks through my clean, quiet, and generally very safe neighborhood on nice days. But I realized how different my experiences were from those of a male friend when he started talking about the music he listened to via headphones while walking through the same neighborhood before dawn. By contrast, I would never walk alone unless the sun was up, and I can't use headphones because I need to be able to hear if some creeper guy is following me in his car or shouting obscenities at me from inside his house (although these are infrequent, both have happened multiple times).
« Last Edit: May 02, 2018, 02:09:11 PM by OtherJen »

sol

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2018, 11:49:22 AM »
In major cities, public reporting of major crimes is pretty thin.  Places like New York and Chicago typically see one to two (reported, investigated) murders per day, and they can't possibly report on all of them in a meaningful way. 

And if your house gets robbed?  In some US cities, you can't get an officer to show up at all.  Fill out this form, send it in, we'll file it for you.

Rosy

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2018, 11:50:50 AM »
My first thought was, "Oh, she changed the subject abruptly?". Code for " I've experienced an event that I don't want to talk about or I happen to know about something that I don't want to talk about".
I have to agree that crime is underreported and even I know of murders that were kept quiet.
There is no doubt in my mind that I'd gladly pay for parking to feel safer - just safer, not safe, despite security cameras and people nearby.

I was once mugged on the streets of Houston in broad daylight - busy street, people everywhere. Knife at my throat and no one took notice. These things happen quickly and can end your life - in my case I just lost my briefcase, gained a nice bloody, crusty line around my neck as a reminder how fragile life really is - not to mention the trouble of changing locks and bank accounts etc.

bwall

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2018, 03:40:25 PM »
My first thought was, "Oh, she changed the subject abruptly?". Code for " I've experienced an event that I don't want to talk about or I happen to know about something that I don't want to talk about".

+1.

That was my first reaction as well. I'm surprised that it took 20 odd replies for someone to mention this.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2018, 05:02:40 PM »
My first thought was, "Oh, she changed the subject abruptly?". Code for " I've experienced an event that I don't want to talk about or I happen to know about something that I don't want to talk about".

+1.

That was my first reaction as well. I'm surprised that it took 20 odd replies for someone to mention this.

I actually thought about adding this as option d in my original post.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Weird conversation with coworker
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2018, 05:06:53 PM »
Where I live I feel pretty safe most of the time, but there are still times that I get catcalled or followed, even during the day, and even on busy streets. That sort of experience, combined with the possibility of past sexual harrassment and assaults, might be enough for someone to consider parking in a place that is perceived to be more safe, regardless of the actual statistics. I wouldn't knock someone for choosing a route that makes them feel safer, even if it costs a bit more.
I am also pretty sure that being told to "walk more confidently with a swing in your arms" is not going to make her feel any safer, and may actually feel victim blamy to a lot of women. I am a pretty confident person, but that hasn't prevented men from yelling obscene things at me out of their cars, following me down the street asking for my number, or slapping my ass in public. Just because you don't experience harassment doesn't mean nobody else does.

Wow I didn't mention the arm swinging thing in the original conversation, I can see how that would come across as condescending. I remembered it later, it was a documentary about how predators select their victims. The most likely predictor wasn't gender but rather whether a person walked as if they were old or injured.