August 11, 2011

Are You Inviting Crime?



     “Ligonier (Pennsylvania) is a safe town. You don’t have to worry about crime here.”

     The young clerk at the grocery story told me this after I sought her assistance in unfastening the child seat belt on the grocery cart. I had woven the seat belt straps through my purse handles when I placed my purse in the child seat part of the cart. This, and constant vigilance, was meant to discourage theft of the purse, or at least to slow it down to provide time for me to scare off any person who attempts to grab the purse. Worse than the loss of the money is the loss of the many cards my purse contains. It takes lots or red tape and jumping through hoops to cancel and replace the cards. And then, there is the issue of identity theft, a threat that can cast a cloud over my head for years.

     I take cautions to prevent theft in other situations, too.

     When my husband, Monte, and I traveled to Munich, Germany, to visit our son, I made certain we had under-clothes wallets to keep our passport, cash, credit cards, etc. safe. When Monte and Nolan traveled through Prague enroute to where my son had a meeting, Monte neither left his unusable cash and documents in my son’s apartment, nor did he transfer then to his under-garment wallet. While traveling on a train in Prague, he was pick-pocketed, losing a bunch of cash, his credit cards, his driver’s license, his Social Security card—and whatever else was in his wallet. We had to contact my daughter back home to resolve the issues—as a prevention issue and to enable him to drive upon our return home. Fortunately, she was successful.

     When I must leave electronic devices in my car, I take care to cover them up to remove their exposure from the eyes of those who might be tempted to break into the car to claim my devices as a prize. I also lock the car doors. I haven’t lost any personal electronic devices from my car. It doesn’t look inviting, and it doesn’t look like anything worth stealing is in the vehicle.

     Using protective measures is a way to ward off tempting criminals or mischief makers. A newspaper article said it correctly: STOP INVITING CRIME!*

     The article addressed the issue of leaving GPS devices and open wallets in plain views in unlocked vehicles, despite repeated police warnings, stating that It perpetuates local crime by luring thieves.

     The victim of the crime is not responsible for the behavior of the criminal. The person who commits the crime of theft is responsible for his behavior. 

     However, we all know these persons are out there, waiting for the unsuspecting, trusting, person who believes the delusion that no one will steal from them. After all, this is a safe town, store, etc.

     By not taking precautions, are we not inviting crime?

     When I told my friend Vivian (not her real name) about the clerk’s comment, she informed me that less than a year previous her purse had been lifted from grocery cart in the same store. She had to go through the process of restoring her various cards and licenses that she carried in her wallet.

     The newspaper article ended by stating that leaving valuable items exposed in a vehicle is more than poor judgment. It’s akin to continually leaving food out—and wondering why one’s home has become infested with cockroaches.*

     I agree. It doesn’t take much to protect your valuables, and the time spent could prevent a lot of headaches and worse. Please take care.


   Tuesday Takes, Greensburg Tribune-Review, March 22, 2011, A11





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