by Julia Buckley
This is disturbing no matter how you slice it, and it's even more so because we were IN our houses when this happened, but it was dark outside, and had my neighbor not pulled up in his car and spotted the men, none of us would have known that they were out there, interlopers, probably assessing things while planning a robbery.
But the audacity of their actions is nothing new. I need only read the crime report in our local newspaper to see that people are committing bold daytime robberies and burglaries, some of them at gunpoint. They don't even restrict themselves to dark alleys or out-of-the-way places these days. People are robbed on major thoroughfares in the middle of the afternoon.
So has this always been the case, or are criminals more audacious? If it's B, why is it so? Is it the difficult economy which has people brashly committing crimes without fear of the law? (As of yet, I don't know whether or not the police apprehended our own peeping toms). Are today's burglars empowered by the same sort of self-centeredness that seems to have become a societal staple?
We live close to Chicago, where this year's murders (according to the Huffington Post), have exceeded the killings of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We're in a Chicago suburb, though, where there are rarely murders at all. But other crimes, like carjacking, assault, and theft, are regular realities.
In any case, while I'm disturbed by the fact that strangers were up to no good and as close as my doorstep, I'm not surprised. It's not the first time people have been there. When my sons were little, their brand new bikes were stolen off of our protected back porch; the training wheels were torn off and left behind. Sometimes when I leave out donations for Goodwill or Amvets, they are taken before the truck gets there.
Our neighbors to the south had their entire house cleaned out in the middle of the day. The burglars came in through their back yard (which has a high fence around it) and had a truck waiting in front. They did a quick, business-like cleanout in a matter of minutes, and all electronics were gone.
And perhaps most interestingly, our neighbor once called us to tell us that three drunk men had climbed the tree in our backyard and sat in it for several minutes before climbing down and moving on.
It's probably no surprise that my sons have grown up very security-conscious and rather obsessed with locks and bolts. This incident will probably increase their vigilance, and I suppose that's a good thing. But it's also sad that they can't feel safer in their own neighborhood, as I did when I was a child.