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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 17, 2008 5:54 AM. The previous post in this blog was Motivation. The next post in this blog is Wow, what will they think of next?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The kindness of strangers

A safety tip from the City of Portland:

Choose a safe person on the MAX train. When you get on the train, use your intuition to choose someone that you feel would be safe to help you. If someone makes you uncomfortable, or you need help, you can ask this person for help by being direct, "You in the red shirt, I need help! Call 911!"
This and many more are here.

Comments (22)

The red shirt person is to be a Guardian Angel?

No doubt it took more bureaucrats to put this together than will ever read and find it useful.

This is nothing but typical busy work for bureaucrats pretending to be providing a needed government service while never producing a public benefit that justifies their existence or the agency funding.

Hilarious!

Obviously written by someone who has not spent much time on MAX or any other form of public transportation. You don't always get to choose who you sit next to especially when the troublemakers get on board after you do.

The previous section on identifying safe havens along the MAX routes, ideally small businesses which have entrances which can be locked quickly, is also funny. Small business owners are more likely to see trouble coming and lock the door before you get inside.

This advice is no substitute for security on MAX.

I'll ignore the MAX-centric nature of this tidbit, and point out that person-specific cries for help are much more likely to be fruitful than those that are generalized.
People in a group can ignore pleas for help because they always assume someone else will step forward, meaning no one steps forward. (see "bystander apathy" or "diffusion of responsibility")

I can only hope your right. If Adams wants more ridership on Max he better figure out a way to make it safe before i ride it.
Some how the city council took $200,000 of OUR tax money to make sure that men felt warm and cozy ( Coffee and Donuts to boot) while waiting for some employer to stop by and offer work..The councel could have taken some of our TAXES and increased fare inspectors on max .
So now the Angels want to come in and help out and Tri-met doesn't want to be liable. Excuse me, but your giving free passes out to kids when we should use this money to "protect" the paying riders. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS CITY HAS CITY HALL GONE MAD.

How about, instead of relying on a stranger to make the judgment call that 911 is needed, Tri-Met installs panic boxes... I know bus drivers and cab drivers have them. Instant police response to your location, no need to hang on the line and explain the situation, etc.

Or you can just page the MAX driver... there are multiple pager boxes on every car.

Aside from that, I'd wholeheartedly support lifetime bans being passed out more liberally. If you're gonna use Tri-Met as a lab to practice your ability to rob, harass, beat, threaten, and generally act supremely anti-social... then you should also know that, in turn, if you get caught, you're riding a bike for the rest of your life.

The violence is only going to get worse as the social mood darkens and more and more people fall through the cracks of rising energy and food costs, unemployment, and so on.

In sum, there are going to LOTS MORE poor pissed off people with nothing to lose roaming the streets of Portland.

Security cameras on every car?

"I'll ignore the MAX-centric nature of this tidbit, and point out that person-specific cries for help are much more likely to be fruitful than those that are generalized."

Uh, not if you call me a red shirt. Red shirts are always the first to get killed during the away missions.

Unless said red shirt has an emergency transporter machine handy.

Security cameras on every car?

They have those already, however they are only for making sure nobody vandalises TriMet property. Much like the "security" folk hired by Trimet.

They dont give a rip about the riders.

Instant police response to your location, no need to hang on the line and explain the situation, etc.

And hope you are not in the tunnel or on a bridge.
And paging the MAX driver...what is that gonna do? He's not coming out of his locked cabin.

When you get on the train, use your intuition to choose someone that you feel would be safe to help you.

Hmm. Why wasn't this accompanied with an admonishment to not allow your intuition to discriminate the choice of your "safe person" on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status?

Given the entirely normal human impulse to feel safest around people who tend to resemble yourself, isn't this a step backward toward segregated train cars?

Could it be that the City of Portland will breath new life into Plessy v. Ferguson?

Oh well. I'm sure they have a plan for that too.

No one who reads this would ever try the MAX afterwards.

Does no one watch Star Trek? The guys in the red shirts are always killed first.

Ayup. We've identified the problem. It is that the victims haven't complained properly, often enough or early enough. Yup. That's it. Victims' fault. Not our problem!

actually most of these tips aren't bad especially for other places than the MAX where women also get harrassed and assaulted, as this is from the WomenStrength training folks.

Yes, they should have security or maybe study why we have such problems with light-rail in this City as opposed to other places. But ultimately, it's a good idea to know some personal safety stuff, no?


I am in Portland twice a year. I usually ride the MAX to get from my hotel to the Convention Center. In the morning, it's okay. By afternoon, I enter it like a combat zone with my eyes looking out the back of my head. There is NO security and the threat from the gangsters, wanna-be gangsters, toughs and bums is real and palpable. I absolutely refuse to ride this service after 3 PM -- I value the life of my wife and myself too highly. MAX is a safety train wreck and representative of lack of security in all touchy-feely cities. I'm sure glad I don't have to pay taxes to support it.

The identification thing is good general advice. Sociology 101 taught me that! Read about a pretty neat experiment ... people in a moderately packed restaurant, the experiment is a person leaves a bag unattended. If they ask a random stranger to keep an eye on it, like 90% of people will stop another person from taking it; without asking, only like 10% of people will stop another person. And its not about paying attention -- its about being singled out for responsiblity.

Same type of experiment tested calls to police. Test was a cry for help. The FEWER people on the street, the more likely one would call the police or investigation or render assistance. The more people, the more likely they believe that someone else would call for help.

By afternoon, I enter it like a combat zone with my eyes looking out the back of my head. There is NO security and the threat from the gangsters, wanna-be gangsters, toughs and bums is real and palpable. I absolutely refuse to ride this service after 3 PM -- I value the life of my wife and myself too highly.

You know, I am beginning to see this too. I ride MAX to and from work every day, and lately I have been working late..to after 6pm most days. I usually go home around 4:30. There is a whole different group of people on MAX after 6....

"Over the counter with a shotgun
Pretty soon everybody got one" - U2

Get real - if you're afraid of the punks on MAX, then arm yourself.

Good lord, those "instructions" on how to ride PUBLIC transportation sound more like the instructions one might get prior to working with a rabid dog....
Wait, I think I might be on to something here................

Ah, diversity and tolerance win again. Typical for Portland, tax you to death and then duck any responsibility to assist the taxpayers. Like Tacoma's policy that the car owner is at fault for any potential theft if he leaves the keys in the car. Tolerance is a wonderful thing.


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