Monday, September 10, 2007

How Safe Are We In Our Own Homes?

This morning, I received a very unnerving telephone call. The information it contained is not found in the Herald or the Sun Sentinel. It could very well be in the paper later today as "breaking news" or show up tomorrow in a small sidebar.

It pertained to long-time residents who are family and friends who live in our city. This couple has been married for just over 40 years, so they are up there in age. The other evening, while they were preparing for bed, they heard a terrible crashing sound and a loud thud. Wondering what it might be, the husband went to find where the noise came from because he said it sounded like it was "right in the house."

He was surprised to find out when he entered his living room that several strangers had crashed through his back door. Yes, this elderly couple were going to be the latest victims of a home invasion robbery.

He immediately feared for his life while standing in front of these heavily armed home invaders, then thought of his wife and best friend in life who was in their bedroom and unaware of the current dangers and situation. “What do these invaders want”, he thought?

They wanted everything! Promises of "we're not going to hurt you, if you give us what we want" were amazingly granted. The couple was not brutally harmed because they had the courage and knowledge to do exactly what they were asked of them.

In a little unassuming home, within a rather quiet neighborhood where the "welcome" mats line the front doorsteps of almost each and every home, gun toting criminals, home invaders, shattered the quiet of the night and took more than just money, home electronics, valuables and jewelry. These home invaders stole the safety and security these families in this particular neighborhood took for granted for too many years.

We all have come to know and love this family. They have worked very hard all of their lives for everything they have. At 60-something, the husband still works daily to support himself and his wife, while she is a homemaker.

The husband has taken an excessive and undetermined amount of time off of work to stay home with his wife, because she is so upset about the invasion. He also has had to spend lots of time and money that they didn’t plan for to put up a new back-door, door frame and re-plaster the inside walls to try and erase the terrible memories of that evening. A total disruption of their privacy and their lives.

These victims are a couple who within the last several months celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. It isn't the fact that the robbers took their televisions, their VCR and DVD players, heirloom jewelry or money that the wife is so upset over. It is the fact that the two things that she and her husband cherished the most, the security in her own home and their dignity, was ripped from her heart by this scum of the earth.

The husband tells us that since the police left late that night that his wife has not been to sleep. She has been up cleaning, and re-cleaning the empty locations in the home where these thieves of the night ravaged. She has also been constantly washing the hand that these thieves touched when they stole her wedding band, washing so harshly at times that blood is coming to the surface.

How safe are we in our own homes? It doesn't appear that we are as safe as we believe. The police are only required to protect the community at large, not us as individuals.

So what does this have to do with Cooper City or Broward County?

As I look around, I can see the same things happening here within our beautiful surroundings over and over again, just as incidents are escalating to our north and to our south.

We have had explosive growth over the past couple of years, bringing in thousands of people. We have had to deal with an unprecedented number of questionable houses, an influx of very questionable youth and gang activity, and yes, we have experienced a perceived increase in crime. The alleged crime increase that we may be experiencing may not be on the same severe level as other cities or counties, but it is slowly creeping into our daily lives.

How can we stop it? Personally, I don't know.

Maybe the answer is just as simple as ‘getting to know your neighbor’ in order to retain our quiet serenity and to maintain the peaceful existence of our neighborhoods as we once knew them in order to maintain a sense of security.

Maybe it is as simple as removing the "welcome" mat from the outside of our front doors and borders. One of the answers to this question may be to stop all new developments within our area because we are all aware that statistics state that with an increase in population, an increase in crime occurs.

It may be that the only course of action we have before us, as this invasion of our lives is occurring, is to become more aware of our surroundings. Knowing what is happening in our neighborhoods and taking action before it controls and directly affects us.

I do know this. We can't ever turn a blind-eye towards increasing crime, no matter how petty or serious. Once we become complacent, it will fester and boil up to an ugly head, leaving a massive scar. When that occurs, we will never again be able to regain the honor, innocence, beauty, reputation and safety of our city that we all hope and pray will remain ‘Someplace Special’.

This fictitious scenario [Ed: Clarification for the snipers, fictitious for Cooper City, but this was a true story in Port St. Lucie] is why I support an increase in BSO Deputies. We simply need ‘more feet on the street’.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for posting your concerns and leaving your comment! it may be approved shortly...

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.