Once again, Jane Jacobs is vindicated: safety isn’t determined by police, locks, chains, or elaborate security consulting firms, devices, electric fences, or even tasers, but simply the presence of a few people around to keep an eye (or an ear) out for trouble. Here’s the text of an Ann Arbor News article from today titled “Student fights off attacker in home”:

“Thursday, March 25, 2004

A University of Michigan student fought off an attacker who broke into her ground-floor apartment early today and fled with a laptop computer after a neighbor came to her aid, Ann Arbor Police said.

Police arrested a man in Ypsilanti Township a short time later who may be connected to the attack, Detective Sgt. Richard Kinsey said.

The woman was sleeping in her apartment in the 300 block of Thompson Street at 4:39 a.m. when she was attacked, police said. The intruder apparently entered through a window because the front door was locked and chained, but he propped the door open once he got inside, Detective Brian Zasadny said.

A neighbor in the building heard the woman screaming and went to her apartment, calling inside the partially open door to see if she was OK, Kinsey said. The intruder bolted from the apartment, police said.

Kinsey said police are still investigating whether the man intended to sexually assault the woman.

Just before the 911 call was placed, officers on routine patrol saw a black Dodge Intrepid driving in the area of State and Huron streets with its lights out, Kinsey said. They jotted down the license plate but didn’t stop the car.

When the officers heard radio traffic about the break-in, they ran the license plate and discovered the registered owner was wanted on a warrant for window peeping, Kinsey said. Officers from Ypsilanti and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department eventually tracked down the car in the area of the I-94 Service Drive and Share Avenue, Kinsey said.

The driver was being questioned by police early today.

Several similar incidents of a man entering apartments in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township have occurred in recent weeks. Kinsey said detectives from each local department are working to determine if they are linked.

“The information is sketchy at this point …” Kinsey said. “We need to see what kind of predator we’re dealing with here.”

Amalie Nash can be reached at anash at annarbornews.com or

(734) 994-6832. “

Author: Rob