There has been another attack in Cambridge.

The most recent assault involved a woman in her 20’s. She was attacked near the intersection of Ellery and Harvard Streets. Just one day earlier, and only three blocks away, another woman around the same age was knocked unconscious at the intersection of Kirkland and Trowbridge. The thief robbed her of her iPhone and purse.

Apparently, the attacks occurred at night when the women were walking alone. They were also both wearing headphones.

The police opine that the women were less alert to their surroundings because of their wearing of the blaring headphones. Further, they say that such earbuds alert potential thieves looking for high-priced electronics to steal.

Police are warning women walking alone at night not to be wearing headphones and to be aware of their surroundings.

Police also say they cannot be sure if the incidents involve the same attacker, but the victims’ descriptions are similar, to wit: a light skinned black or white man in his 30’s.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Being Careful Out There

This story, which led the news Wednesday morning, reminded me of two other fine, albeit somewhat old, pieces of media. Both were from television.

The first one was the television program “Hill Street Blues”. It was a show about an urban police officers and their trials and tribulations. Each episode began with the Sargent giving out assignments at roll call. He would always end the meeting with saying, “Let’s be careful out there!” The other piece is a bit by Christopher Rock. It is, to my mind, a brilliant bit about how not to have the “sh##t” kicked out of you when stopped by the police.

It is a classic.

I was very tempted to mimick the tone of the Chris Rock video in today’s Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog. I figured that April Fool’s Day is coming this weekend and we have been dealing with alot of murders lately, so I thought something funny might be in order.

I offered what I thought were equally obvious ways to avoid becoming a victim of a crime. For example:

Identity Theft…….Do not wear a shirt with your social security number, name and address printed on it,

Robbery…………..Particularly in an isolated area, do not leave the ATM machine counting your large bills out loud as you leave the bank out in the open street, and
Drunk Drivers……When crossing the street, walking around the street or even driving, it is better not to wear a blindfold or blaring headphones.

…And then, I thought better of it. It could easily be misunderstood. After all, I realize that there is nothing funny about being the victim of a crime, my semi-jaded sense of humor aside. Further, while it may seem obvious in hind-sight, anybody (if not everybody) can make a simple mistake in judgment which contributes to a big problem.

First of all, my work as an experienced criminal defense attorney concentrates on trying to fix those problems to a large degree. Second, I am not immune to making such mistakes myself.

So, let’s just cut to the chase.

It struck me that the advise the Cambridge police was giving was somewhat obvious. Does that make it any less important to give?


I think that, as we get caught up in our lives, it is very easy to do things which, looking back, we realize might have been dangerous. Sometimes we need advice which seems obvious.

So, for all you potential crime victims (all of us), it is indeed important to be careful out there. Be aware of your surroundings. After all, regardless of what you think the chances are, you must admit that a bad moment or something going horribly wrong are, at the least, not impossible.

And it only takes one such moment.

So, be alert. You cannot live life hiding under your bed, but being more aware of your surroundings. Be smart.

I remind you that there is a homicide issue pending in Florida right now which, regardless of whose side you are on, was probably not the result of someone going out with the goal of a violent confrontation. Regardless of what could or should have taken place…it ended up with one young man dead and another man frightend for his life, looking at either criminal prosecution or some nut making good on the death threats pending against him.

This warning is not only for those of us who could be tomorrow’s Commonwealth witnesses…it is also for potential criminal defendants. Sometimes, being at the wrong place, or acting without thinking, can change an otherwise law-abiding life into the target of law enforcement.

And that one moment can change your life forever.

So, most seriously, be aware. Be careful out there. We are all important in this life…let’s all try to live up to the goal of helping our fellow people, and ourselves, through it.

In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding April Fool’s Weekend!

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to

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