Is it a sign of our times that the raison d'etre of my neighborhood association is not to welcome new residents and organize block parties, but rather to offer crime prevention tips and track burglary statistics? The formerly monthly emails from the association secretary now seem to be coming weekly. Not only has the frequency of crime reports gone up, but the violence level seems to be escalating.
At least, that's the sense I get from the emails. It's hard to know if things are really getting worse, or if people are just on high alert and more sensitive than usual. Yes, I'd rather know what's going on than not; I can't address a problem I don't know about, although I knew that all was not well when my next-door neighbor's front door was kicked in on an otherwise lovely Sunday morning last summer. (He was having breakfast at a restaurant down the street at the time, and I imagine that the phone call from the police officer who wanted him to please come home and see what was missing wasn't the best digestive aid.)
I'm a techie, so my solutions to problems are often technical in nature. ("When the only tool you have is a hammer, all problems look like nails.") I bought security cameras, the sort that I could monitor via the Internet and configure to email me when motion is detected around a door or window, when a car pulls into my drive, when somebody steps on my porch. It's comforting to be able to check in on the house from work or a coffee shop, but it's also made me paranoid. Is that a shadow of someone lurking on my property, or a tree branch blowing in the wind?