Following national events that threaten our ability to feel secure even sitting down to a movie, it might be difficult to leave the house each day without feeling extremely vulnerable.
Two emails reached the Star inbox last week that demonstrate just how vulnerable each of us is. Thomas Sheridan of AFI Flowers in Port Richmond said in his message that the shop had been burglarized early July, only two months after being robbed for the first time. The shop has since installed security cameras.
Star also received an email regarding a post on The Port Richmond Town Watch’s Facebook page. It reported that community seniors had been targets of recent thefts — allegedly, a nicely-dressed blonde woman driving a silver car will knock on doors to ask residents if she can use the bathroom. While in the house, she steals whatever she sees.
That post encouraged residents to report suspicious activity to an anonymous tipline at 215-685-3281.
Those incidents are only two of many that occur every day throughout Philadelphia. They aren’t among the even more heinous — assaults, muggings, murders.
Some say the world has gone to the dogs.
These crimes are terrifying. Each act of crime chips away at the sense of security that good, hardworking people strive to establish for themselves and for their children. Even more terrifying is the notion that many people live with no sense of security; some in the city are simply desensitized to crimes that happen around them each day.
In the face of these truths, the hope lies in the good people in your communities.
During interviews for last week’s “Best of the River Wards” issue, I heard the following statements from winners:
“Here, everyone has your back.”
“They support us, we support them.”
“We all look out for each other.”
Looking out for your neighbor and keeping an eye on the streets will not necessarily stop a late-night burglar or a maniac with a gun.
But that effort is tremendously important. In all too many cities, anonymity is a way of life — neighbors don’t know or say hello to one another, and the only safeguard on which residents rely is the deadbolt they shut across their doors each night.
The people trying to make this world worse will always be resolute. That’s discomforting. But at least a few in Philadelphia believe that community safety is everyone’s responsibility. That’s comforting.
Just last night, in fact, the city celebrated National Night Out, a nationwide vigil that, according to its website, seeks to “send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.”
That type of thinking is as crucial now as it’s always been.
It might be the only way to keep our world from those dogs.
Managing editor Mikala Jamison can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.