Neighborhood Watch. Strength in Numbers
It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Welcome to the neighborhood. What place do you call "Home?" As you lay your head upon your pillow at the end of the day, what sounds might lull you into dreamland? Is it maybe total silence?
Some of us may hear the clickety-clack of cargo being hauled along the distant tracks or the sound nearby of Mr. Owl, hooting into the night outside your window. Others listen to the traffic whizzing by and the occasional bass booms blaring out an open hot rod's window. The sounds are fleeting and we adjust to them.
Inner city life might not be so pleasant......bedtime, not so soothing. Adapting to the danger and fears in some neighborhoods doesn't come easily. Crime can be expected as sure as sunrise. Feeling safe in your own bed, inside your home, on the street where you live, may not be an option.
Far too many inner cities have been literally taken over by gangs. This debasing culture is the result of a complex mixture of every negative societal woe imaginable. Poverty may head this list but the backlash of its devastation can permeate an entire city. School drop-outs is the norm as well as single-parent homes, the vast majority supported by Social services. Teens as young as thirteen within these ghetto communities run wild in the streets, no direction, no goals and no hope for a future but a date with prison.
While our politicians are busy throwing money and attention at foreign countries for their own greedy agendas, here in our own country, neighborhood deterioration abounds. The senseless solution for us is more prisons.
Our Brother's Keeper?
I do not know when the concept of Neighborhood Watch was born. Nor am I aware of the first place and time average citizens came together to conceive of this idea, then proceed to put it to action.. Neighborhood watch groups have cropped up in numerous cities and towns throughout our country and continue to grow in strength and numbers.
With community support and law enforcement cooperation, Neighborhood Watch appears for the most part to be a welcome and appreciated organization.
In far too many cases, it is a necessity to the safety and well-being of the residents of many a neighborhood.
Our streets have become as frightening as a war zone, with gang activities involving drugs, prostitution and random shootings. The outrageous number of child predators, many registered, but just as many who manage to evade the system, live amongst law-abiding families on every block.
On a daily basis, much to our horror and disbelief, the news media brings us reports of missing women and children. More often than not, the outcome is too gruesome for us to fathom. Concern and worry can consume us. What do we do? How do we fight back against the monsters who place no value on human life in general....who creep among the shadows to do harm to our most precious and vulnerable?
As citizens and in particular, as parents, we've grown fearful of our own shadows. Gone is the expectation of feeling safe or protected in our towns and cities, our homes and even in our schools.
It is important to look seriously at the abuse of a Neighborhood Watch Program. A tragic example we should all be aware of at this point, is the George Zimmerman--Trayvon Martin case of Florida. There can be no tolerance of vigilantism.
Cases such as this one speaks strongly of the necessity of neighborhood groups to organize and train their active community members and to work closely with city governement and law enforcement.
Empowerment and Unity
I grew up in the 50's/60's. Yes, a very long time ago. Not only long ago in years, but to be perfectly frank, it looks to me as though I grew up in another world altogether. Today, I do not recognize any reality around us that I can even begin to relate to my Baby Boomer generation childhood.
Granted my little world in smalltown, USA, just after World War II, was all I knew, but I don't remember such chaos and fear. My parents never sat me down to explain about evil that lurked on every corner. We could go about our fun and frolic, ride our bikes, go to our friend's two blocks away. There were no policemen at our schools or auto-locks to keep us in and all others out.
We surely didn't establish an official Neighborhood Watch Program. All the neighbors, all the parents....they just kept their eyes on us and helped us if we needed them.
I remember our Dad joking that if any one ever broke into our house or tried to harm anyone in our family, our nosy neighbor Helen could give the cops every last, fine detail. At the time, I guess I thought my Dad was saying something wonderful about her.
This is another time, Another world
The hard core fact of Reality in today's world, the year 2012, is that awareness and action is tantamount to protect the areas and space we call home. Neighborhood Watch should exist and spread to as many towns in our country as feel the need to establish it within their own neighborhoods.. Tax payers have the right to feel safe. We all have the responsibility to our children as well as one another to strive to protect and defend against those who thrive on crime. The disruption of our peace and freedoms cannot and should not be tolerated for a moment.
Like so many things that make our lives better and more peaceful, it is up to us to use our energies and talents to accomplish what can make this happen. There truly is power and strength in numbers. When the hearts and minds of men and woman come together for a common goal, there can be no limit to what may be achieved.