Thursday, June 19, 2008

Laying Down the Law

So, I won't lie. After my brush with House #1, I made an effort to check out the crime rates in any new neighborhood I was considering. Easier said that done. Eventually, I found this. (Or rather, zlionsfan found this.)

After I had moved in.

Still, that's neither here nor there. The crime rate for my neighborhood is actually much lower than the average for Marion County as a whole, so that's good, right? It wasn't until on a walk with zlionsfan on the 17th, when he mentioned the police patrols, that I actually took notice that, yes, I had actually seen quite a few police cars patrolling my neighborhood. In fact, if I thought back (and keep in mind, I've only had the dogs in the house since the 15th, so we've only been walking the neighborhood since then) I had seen at least one police car (unmarked or marked) on each walk.

I've been thinking about that ever since, and I continue to see the patrols. So, is this a good thing, or a bad thing?

Zlionsfan mentioned that police patrol neighborhoods that USED to be higher crime areas. The reason why the crime stats drop, of course, is the perceived police presence. Even though I was told over and over as a freshman in collge that I should NOT venture out into the neighborhoods surrounding Butler (the University is safe, but the neighborhoods surrounding were not guaranteed to be safe for students... blah blah blah) I never really believed it. Besides, that was um....twelve years ago. (sob) And when I was a senior, I had friends who lived in those neighborhoods and emerged reasonably unscathed. University scare tactics to protect the trust fund babies was my final verdict. And the new crime stats? I believe them. I have never felt the slightest threat whether I'm walking my dogs early morning, early evening, or late at night.

So why the police patrols? Did something recently happen to warrent the increased attention? A search of recent crime in the area yields some property offenses, some traffic issues...nothing outstanding.

So then I thought, "Is it the University?"

That seems plausible, right? An affluent private university that wants to ensure that its campus, students, faculty and reputation remain intact would surely think that increased police patrols on and around campus are a good investment, no?

This morning I was about 100 feet away from my house and groggily walking Blue and Casey, when we saw a tan chow in the neighbor's yard. I initially thought it was the neighbor's dog, until I saw that it wasn't. My worst scenario was confirmed when I saw that the chow was not leashed, was not chained, and there was no owner in sight. At that point, I woke up pretty quickly.

I decided to just continue on my walk. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched the chow head over to my front door to sniff. (New dog smell! New dog smell!!) I relaxed a bit, thinking he would just be happy staying over there, and walked a bit faster. At this point, a police car cruised slowly past.

The chow decided that it had enough of the smells, and wanted to see the real article. Damn. Casey immediately felt me tense up and began to growl. Blue, oblivious to everything, just seemed happy to meet a new potential playmate. I stood still with the dogs on either side of me and waited while the chow slowly approached. When it was on the opposite side of the street, the police cruiser (having seen the standoff in his rearview mirror) miraculously reappeared and turned on his siren for a short burst. The chow skittered away. I waved my thanks and continued walking. When we stopped at the corner, I noticed the police cruiser turning around, heading back to my house, and the police officer getting out to chase the chow away from my house entirely.

I think I fell in love with Mr. Police Officer a little bit.

I saw him again when he did a lap around Butler's campus and waved to him again. As he passed me, I noticed that he had a Butler University license plate. Mystery solved in my mind. University funding is helping with my safe existance.

But now? That doesn't really matter. This situation could have happened anywhere...even my old apartment. The difference is that there wouldn't have been anyone to chase the stray dog away at my old place. The reason is irrelevant. I'm glad the patrols are around and I'll wave every time I see one. Maybe they'll remember when I'm walking and keep an eye out for a single girl. I can't have too many friends like that, right?


jaclyn said...

Well, BUPD does have a jurisdiction and I'd guess during the summer with almost no students they are kind of they probably patrol more. Also, after Foster got attacked one time I now carry pepper spray on dog walks - for his protection, not mine. ;)

Farmerspice said...

Just remember my car and Ree's car were both stolen from BU parking across the street from our house and under a light! :) BUPD has jurisdiction over the entire county but generally sticks close to campus. Cheers...till tomorrow!!

Candace said...

Ok..I never think about the crime rates in my area...Should I? I don't have a dog to walk...but I often come home late at night.

ems said...

I carry pepper spray too. I never thought of using it on the stray dog, though. Silly me. I'll get on that.

Actually, Denise's car was stolen too...but didn't they decide that you all had the same type of locks on your cars that were easy to pick or something?

I never thought about crime rates when I didn't think I had anything to worry about. If you feel safe, I wouldn't worry about it. Ignorance is bliss :-)

alisa said...

I'm the neurotic person who looks up the crime and sex offender information before I even go look at a place ... Neurotic, I know, but it makes me feel better.

So does the pepper spray that I carry too. And the baseball bat under my bed. If someone wants to hurt me they are going to get one hell of a fight.

ems said...

I have a baseball bat too!!! Since I don't agree with guns, and I'm sure I would accidentally hurt myself with a knife, I figure that's the best weapon to have around. Apparently we think alike :-)

zlionsfan said...

Actually, a baseball bat kind of sucks if you are trying to protect yourself from a person. It's pretty slow to swing, and if you're not catching someone by surprise, you pretty much get one chance and that's it. (It's also something that can be taken from you and used against you comparatively easily.)

On the other hand, the new maple bats seem to shatter pretty often, so you might not even have to hit an attacker to drive him off. You could just spray maple shards at his face. Well, assuming you were good with tangents.

Pepper spray - much better for a primary weapon. Disable the attacker, then hit him with the baseball bat. (But wear a batting glove. You don't want to develop blisters.)

OK, seriously, I don't think you need to focus as much on crime rates as on personal safety. Do what you can to make yourself an undesirable target, be prepared in case someone tries anyway, and that's about the best you can do. (Easy for me to say, I guess. There was only one time I faced what I felt to be potential danger, in Daytona over spring break, and I resolved the issue successfully. I mean, I was 18 or 19 and invincible, but even I wasn't about to go down an alley and help some biker with whatever it was. Solution: say "sorry" and walk away. quickly. It was daylight, and there was a biker convention there, so it very well could have been legitimate, but ...)