Burglaries and vandalism crimes are so commonplace until many of them don’t even make our local newspapers. This is particularly true when these events happen in large cities. Have break-ins become so frequent that we are becoming desensitized to them? Do we even pay attention to some of the red flags indicating that a crime is about to occur or, worse, that it is in progress?
Do You Ignore Other People’s Alarms?
I’m old enough to remember when car alarms first became popular. Back then, if you heard an alarm, you’d stop what you were doing and investigate– whether it was your vehicle or not. How many of us still do so today?
Early auto alarms were so sensitive that they’d sound an alert at the slightest trigger. If a kid playing nearby or an animal accidentally bumped into a neighbor’s car, it usually meant several minutes of a shrill alert that something was wrong, even if it wasn’t. And don’t let the car’s owner be out of earshot of her own alarm as this meant an insufferable amount of time would pass before the alarm would be turned off or the car’s battery would die.
Over time, the noise factor from false alarms became such a nuisance until people started to ignore these loud warnings, altogether. I once remember reading about someone stealing a car using a tow truck and, though the alarm sounded all the way to the thief’s destination, no one– not even police officers in traffic– ever stopped to question the two truck driver. Today, beyond a glance out of a window to find out if an alarm’s siren belongs to your car or not, how many people reading this actually look any further to find out what caused an alarm and whether or not a crime is in progress? How about house alarms or pool alarms?
Do You Investigate Odd Noises?
Beyond alarms, how many stop to investigate the sound of breaking glass or a heavy thud coming from a neighbor’s house? A California woman helped thwart a burglary last August after seeing a flashlight inside of her neighbor’s house, but how many of us would have ever noticed something like this? Do you know how closely you have to pay attention to your surroundings to even recognize a silent warning like a flashlight inside a house?
I’ll admit that there have been several times that I’ve heard things go bump in the night and beyond listening for a few minutes to see if the sound was followed by anything else, I haven’t investigated further. Luckily, none of my immediate neighbors have been burglarized, but there was that time a couple of years ago when we heard loud noises just after two in the morning only to discover the next day that neighbors from the next block over had endured a home invasion robbery where the criminal shot at the couple from inside their house! Luckily, he missed and they were able to call the police on their own. Being that this happened close to Independence Day here in America, though, most of us in the neighborhood thought that the loud pops were fireworks. We were annoyed at being awakened, but everyone went back to sleep totally unaware that a gunman was loose in our backyard. Maybe literally.
Let this post be a reminder of the fact that we all need to pay closer attention to our environment. If we see something, say something. And if we hear something, may we not place ourselves in harm’s way, but call the police to investigate. Start neighborhood watch groups to discuss how to best (and quickly) communicate with one another when noises or visual alerts make us pause and wonder. And may we all stop telling ourselves that these events are “nothing” or that someone else will handle it.
How Vigilant Are You About Crime?
Has a crime ever occurred right under your nose? Have you seen or heard warning signs, but convinced yourself that you were overreacting or that there was nothing to be concerned about? Has doing so ever resulted in a criminal being able to flee a crime scene undetected? Talk to us about your own crime senses and how you think we can all do better in the future.