It’s funny. I was joking with someone last week that I should just leave my car unlocked, because there was nothing to left to steal.
But you see, there was something left to steal, and it was stolen. All 23 gallons of it, since I filled up on Sunday. And that something was…you guessed…the blood of Iraqi babies…er gas…that I use to power the violator on its daily rounds. This time, however, it doesn’t appear to have been personal, because a lot of people on Laurel Street and the environs (as far over as Redwood and Harrison) also got hit.
It appears clear to me that there is a roving team, and it is also clear that the cops don’t care. I called them to report the gas theft and they told me they would “step up patrols.” Obviously, the police force is not serving our needs, as a city. It is time to take things into our own hands, and, therefore, I am going to try and organize a neighborhood watch. This is something that I believe would benefit the entire community. Those of us who live here already call the police if we notice break ins or threats to businesses or each other’s homes (although most of us have never gotten any recognition for our fast actions). However, an organized group sends a clear message–we will not tolerate crime any more. I do not want to live somewhere where I feel unsafe, where I feel uncomfortable leaving my home at night, and where one must lock, and double check, and lock again, every conceivable door and window around. Most of the people who live here are young and poor. If we had more money, we’d be living in nice big secure houses in leafy neighborhoods, I’m sure. But most of us live around Laurel Street because it is cheap. It used to be cheap because of the bars and delivery trucks and other assorted noise–now it’s cheap, apparently, because of crime. It’s odd that people would choose to pick on us, since most of us are poor and don’t have much to take. But it’s time for us to take a stand and fight back–we need to reclaim Laurel Street for our own.
I imagine the City of Fort Bragg would be pleased, as well. Having an active neighborhood watch saves them money, and makes them look good in the long term. (In the short term, it just highlights the fact that the city is too lazy to do anything about an obvious and growing problem.) Businesses win, residents win, and, ultimately, the city wins. Hopefully, crime will lose.