For all of us, the past few weeks have been a little unnerving following the rash of armed robberies that have hit Schuylkill and Carbon counties. Yes, the idea of witnessing or being a victim of an armed robbery (or any crime) is definitely something to be scared of.
Don't let these few criminals and their actions influence how you feel about your community or the kind of people that live in it. Most of us will never see or be a victim of an armed robbery. And the victims that are, do their best to get on with their lives. It also matters who you are. Older people are typically more scared of crime than young people - even though they're demographically least likely to be victimized. If you have been a victim of a crime or are close to someone who has, you will probably be more susceptible to fear.
We live in a life of global terror levels, wars, and better and faster news coverage; so yes, you will definitely see more crime in the papers and on television. Advancements in technology have also increased the amount of information available to us, such as via cell phones, text messaging, social media, the Internet and so on. These social medias have also made it possible for people to easily share their fears with everyone. Add all this up, and you can't help from feeling a little anxious.
If you think about it, all these crimes, in one way or another, have been around since America was founded. American has always had crimes, terrorists and wars. So why are people more anxious now than before?
Even as national crime rates have gone down over the last 20 years, everyone's fear of crime hasn't lessened much at all. According to the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, between 1990 and 2009, the national violent-crime rate was halved, while property crime dropped to 60 percent of its previous rate. Despite this, people still choose to dwell on the bad things over the good. What can you say? It is human nature. But when fear affects people's pride and involvement in community, things will never really get better.
For decades, people have brought up ways of dealing with crime, such as increasing police officers, placing more surveillance cameras, raising penalties, controlling blight and so on. All these are great; but none get to the root of the problem.
Two key issues always overlooked in community policing are community pride and community involvement. Simply put, if you have a community or neighborhood that truly cares about where they live, things will always get better.
Community pride is important in the growth and future of any community. So next time you open your mouth, realize that your words can be much more damaging than the actions of an armed robber.
A comment posted on Tamaqua's website from a recent visitor stated, "It's so sorrowful, what is happening in your area concerning these robberies. I visited Tamaqua two weeks ago. It was my first time and I couldn't help but notice the warmth and friendliness of the local people. I thought to myself... What a great place to live."
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