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Why I Am Passionate About Crime Watches
I grew up in Richardson which is a suburb just North of Dallas. At the time, there were only two schools in the metroplex better than the ones I attended and they were both private prep schools, St. Marks and Hockaday. RISD offered a stellar education and the price was right, so my single mom scrimped and saved so we could live in a two bedroom home that didn't even have air conditioning... in Texas.
I have to tell you, I hate the heat, but it was worth every hot night I could not sleep because one building block was laid upon another. While I attended what would now be called Title I schools, we lived in the part of Richardson that had the lowest crime rate. I knew everyone that lived on my block and I had been in each home with the exception of one (story for another day). While we enjoyed the peaceful nights and safety with windows open, just next door was Dallas.
That particular section had the highest rate of crime in the entire city.
When the police responded to crime, they had to send out two units for safety. They were not for the officers. They sent one Officer to respond to the call, while one Officer stayed behind with the units because if they didn't, they would be firebombed.
It was like a game of cat and mouse that the drug dealers played except there were blowing up squad cars. They didn't want them on their turf. They sent a clear message.
The gangs turned it into a violent war zone. It was not safe for my friends and schoolmates to walk around outside and play. They couldn’t even safely walk to school or even be picked up to come to my place without being harassed.
Of course, my mother and a Teacher on our block sprung into action with a crime watch and when they burnt out, I picked up the torch as a teen. I carried it until I bought my own home. It was not until I was in college psychology that I realized the symbiotic relationship that the two shared.
Richardson Heights was affluent. The average person had a master's degree or higher and liked to do drugs "recreationally", but they didn’t want drugs in their town. Oh, no! Where did they go? They drove to Spring Valley in Dallas to score their dime bags to have while they were tweaking. Some people purchased sheets of acid or went straight to Special K, Eight Balls, or Molly. They had everything for everyone at your party.
Richardson’s money funded their crime syndicate. We think that crime stops at boundaries. It doesn’t know geography. We say, “not in my neighborhood”, but we not only have to take care of ourselves, but others. We need to be good neighbors to other neighborhoods if this is truly going to work.
The bigger picture to effectively deter crime work is partnering with law enforcement. Then, we get to know our neighbors and they get to know theirs. In an electronic age, we have forgotten how to talk to one another, be friendly, and kind. Please step out of your comfort zone and get to know everyone that touches your property. I can tell you that if you have not been personally touched by crime already, it is most likely a matter of time when it will occur - not if. Then, you will need those friends and neighbors.
Let’s start a wave of kindness.
Have questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.