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When we learn the news of violent crime occurring in our neighborhood, it has us stand up at attention and take notice. First, there is the natural curiosity as to who it was. Where did it happen and whether or not we know the victim. It’s followed by trying to find the circumstances surrounding the crime, and those are the details that sometimes get withheld from the reports. But, it ultimately leads to us wondering how and why, and whether or not it will happen again.
We recently covered the story of a home invasion that took place in Slingerlands. It happened in a good neighborhood. Most of our neighborhoods are. So, we imagine strangers slowly driving up and down our streets, looking over our homes and peeking through our windows. The thought is unnerving. Though we don’t like to call this a bedroom community, many of us face leaving our homes to work. A few of us have security systems, but for the majority, the safety of our homes is left to a locked door and shuttered windows. Perhaps worse, what if it were to happen while we were home?
We looked into the statistics of home invasion burglaries, and spoke with Bethlehem Police Commander Adam Hornick. As members of this community, we wanted to help quell the concerns many of our readers expressed to us. After all, this is our neighborhood, too.
Home invasions, we learned, are rare. Though no one can confidently say that such a crime will never happen in our community, the odds of it happening are slim. Accounting for the more than 120 million households in the United States, about three percent of those may fall victim to one this year. Factored into that figure are neighborhoods unlike the ones we have here in our readership area.
One common denominator to these type of crimes hinges on drug use. It comes down to what our parents taught us as kids. If we run with the wrong crowd, expect to find trouble. Drug abuse, it turns out, is not a victimless crime. What you may excuse as recreational can take a 180 degree turn on you, or the ones you love. Such as the case with this most recent crime. Though we know this was no random act, that there was a relationship established, the person victimized by these events was a bystander. Guilty of being associated with someone who allegedly brokered with the wrong crowd.
There are steps to take to help keep your neighborhood safe. Watch out for your neighbors, and keep yourself secure. Our first line of defense is being a good neighbor to one another. Our second line of defense is to do what Dad always told us before going out — keep your nose clean.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.