Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Homeland Security (a re-post)

I was recently on a neighborhood Internet forum reading about people clamoring for a system of police security cameras to monitor our area.  

While our neighborhood is not without crime, there is very little violent crime and no more robbery or burglary than one would expect.  There is actually less than one might expect, given the proximity of some really bad areas.  But as usual, there are always a lot of folk who want someone else to take care of them.  And again, as usual, the folks with the expensive homes, cars and toys are shouting the loudest. 

Here’s what I had to say about it.

"There is no such thing as a "safe" neighborhood.  Some neighborhoods are safer than others, but there is some level of danger everywhere.  It's interesting to me that the people who are always anxious about bad things happening to them seem to attract that sort of thing.  Certainly bad things happen to people who don't obsess about safety, but the worriers seem to have more bad experiences.

I have been very lucky in my life with regard to people attempting to rob or harm me.  I've lived in the Point for twenty years and things seem pretty much the same to me now as they did when I got here.  Some of the regular street people have died, and now there are different ones.  Now and then there is a rash of mailbox theft, car break-ins, robbery or burglary.  But overall things are pretty mellow.  I have never been robbed, nor has anyone ever tried to hurt me. 

I don't want to live in a police state.  I don't want "Big Brother's" cameras peering into my life.  It makes more sense to me to simply be personally responsible for my own safety and the safety of my home and possessions.  Using common sense, like not putting the box for your nice new computer system or wide-screen TV on the curb to attract thieves, lighting your property and controlling vegetation that provides hiding places for people to break into your house, and just generally being more "heads-up" about how you do things is the key.  

I do not regard the RPD as my personal security service.  They have enough to do with the really serious drugs, gang activity and real dangerous areas of town.  Yes, I will call them if I see something suspicious or scary, but I suspect that my definition of suspicious or scary may differ from that of many others.

Pt. Richmond is wonderful because it is a community.  That community covers a wide range of demographics.  I have found that looking at all of these groups as humans and trying to see things from their perspective helps.  The guy who is raiding your recycling bin is not a monster.  He's probably someone who likes to eat on a regular basis, like everyone else.  His way of doing it may seem less than optimal, but if you don't know him, you don't really know.  His options are different from yours.  My grandmother used to say, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."  Respect him as a human being, and yes, that may mean actually talking with him.  You may be surprised at what he has to say.  I have always tolerated the recycling poachers - but if they are messy or noisy, I tell them why that is a problem for me.  The ones that I do tell keep coming, but they don't make a mess.

As for the thieves and the muggers, (and there are not nearly as many here as in a great many places) Do what you need to do to make yourself and your place less of a target.  It makes more sense than cameras or drones."

All photos © Geonni Banner

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