For several years, it has seemed Echo Park streets were getting safer -- in terms of random street crime. It's no longer worth notice when I see someone out for an evening stroll or jog. The other night at 1 a.m. I drove past Echo Park Lake and saw a lone jogger and didn't think he was courting trouble. I have attributed this largely to global forces. Call me horribly naive, but I thought mugging had gone the way of the "record album." Out of style, obsolete. "No one" has cash anymore. So muggers had to look for new ways to ply their trade, in cyber-crime syndicates and identity-theft rings. Or burglary. All for the better, I thought: It's awful to have your name stolen; it's worse to face a knife or gun. But these new economic times may have made some of us old-fashioned. There have been a rash of muggings reported recently in the neighborhood.
One incident involved a neighbor of mine, Ted Campbell, who had a knife pulled on him Thursday night. According to Ted's wife, Anne, he was out for a walk at around 8:30 p.m.
[Ted] was at Donaldson and Princeton and he was going up the hill on Donaldson when a car stopped and let two guys out...they were young...and didn't speak much English. ... [They] had knives they just wanted cash, $40 dollars, and took Ted's cellphone and wedding ring. They threatened to cut off his finger if he didn't hand the ring over. They went back down the hill where there was a car waiting...an older two-door compact, and they drove off. The police called us at 3 am...they picked up two guys and a woman matching the description, and they had Ted's cell phone.
I'm assuming these aren't the same hoods who mugged an off-duty cop on Echo Park Avenue a few years ago. Or put it this way: I'm hoping.