Friday, November 13, 2009

Don't Cry Wolf-Part 2-Annoyances

Like I said in part 1, maybe this will help someone if they ever move from the 'burbs to a tougher neighborhood. (See disclaimer.) I guess this post is how a neophyte turns their high expectations of crime fighting into something rational. The point where you rely on prevention over remedy, a plan/policy over being completely floored every minute something happens and you aren't ready.

Some of the record of diminished expectations is actually a loss. Others build character--

Most of the things I confronted were on the annoyance category, like public urinating in front of kids or drug dealers scoping out the front hall. Any one of the confrontations I undertook could have been dangerous, if you added a gun. But I didn’t call the police for annoyances because:

1. Inbetween noting the annoyance and calling it in, the annoyance was over.
2. Inbetween calling it in and police response, the “annoyancer” was long gone.

3. Trust: It’s just my word to say the annoyance occurred. Small beans, a lot of hours from everybody for no result. In behavioral terms, I think the immediate response was best.

4. Diplomacy: Calling the police for annoyance-level stuff would have changed the tone of my more pleasant interactions in the neighborhood. Though my level of tolerance was very low compared to my neighbors, you know I still compromised. Often.

Take my Husband's Bike, For Instance: oh.
5. Institutional overload: Take bicycle theft. My husband lost three. All of them were locked to a structure behind a tall gate. The thief was strong, limber, and had tools. He also had one or two partners. Otherwise, it couldn’t have occurred. Scary, but we don’t call 911.

You called in, M-F 8-5, to get your stolen bike on a list by license and bicycle serial number. You received a theft report by mail in return. The bike license was a sticker, reasonably easy to remove.  I am sure the stolen bike list was never consulted by anyone.

6. Secondary economy: Most bike stores in town sold hot bikes. Ah, used bikes.
a. Trust: I’m the one who says it’s missing. Maybe I really sold it yesterday.
b. Deniability: The bike changed hands any number of times, and the person with the bike (if, by some miracle, found) can say they bought it from someone in good faith.
c. Discretionary judgment: My husband could afford a bike. A kid in the next neighborhood over, not so much. Think long-term, wide-range, big picture.
d. A lot of work for a low-value item that may be ruined when it’s found. Small beans.
Everyone had given up on this one. Except the city administrators. See, if you didn't buy the license, you couldn't report the theft . . . . .

So far, so good in the Neighbor-Hood . . . & some serenity achieved.

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