A birding friend approached me late morning to tell me he was almost mugged in the mid morning. The location was the Butterfly Meadow * Lookout Hill.
The friend whom I will keep anonymous told me he was approached by a 30-ish person in a hoodie swaetshirt who tried to grabbed my friend's $$ telescopic camera several times but my friend was able to fend him off. It was a dicey situation none of us want to experience. In the end, my friend was able to get away and tell a mounted police officer on Center Drive
It is wise even when we are under the impression the park is safe with crime rate dropping off in recent years, there is still a danger of aggressive confrontation, when we oftentimes let our guard down, IT IS WISE TO:
1) bird with a friend or hook up with another birder (ask if they are fine with it) 2 is better than one
2) be alert of your surroundings especially in remote or isolated areas ( an area can become remote after the early morning busy hours as I've have always seen late mornings for example during my work hours)
3) if you feel unsafe or threaten by suspicious person(s) (hunches help) , not to make it obvious ( look from a distance), get out of the area to where other park patrons are ( or call 911, not PEP)
4) don't advertise your optics though hard to hide, if only bins, that can be under your jacket,ect)
( oftentimes I just bring my cheap bins pair into the park)
5 ) if you are held up or shown a weapon, give up your optic or whatever the perpetrator wants , don't fight or resist. Your optics can be replaced, not your life!
Be Safe, street smart and alert !
more tips below: