Q: How do you know you’re living in Podunk?
A: The local headlines are punch lines from a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
First story: My neighborhood has a listserv which allows folks to ask who to hire to clean the gutters or to announce a yard sale, which is handy. In practice, however, the vast majority of posts concern a) lost dogs and b) stolen property.
Since I don’t read the micro-news of any other neighborhood, I don’t know if we are unusually afflicted by car break-ins and home burglaries but it seems like a lot. If I were on the roof of the building where I sit writing this, I could point to four or five homes that have been burgled. And if we took a little five of six block stroll the number would rise well into the teens, maybe higher.
Good citizens have established a liaison with the police who provide frequent reports on local crimes and descriptions of suspects or possible vehicles. They also advise people to do the obvious, lock their doors. Still, there has been a paucity of arrests considering the high number of incidents. Until recently. Then the police announced a rare success. Except the details made it clear the success wasn’t theirs.
A guy broke into a residence, as usual in broad daylight, presumably assuming the house would be empty during the work day. It’s the usual M.O. in our neighborhood and usually works. This time he was wrong. The owner was home and he and a neighbor gave chase, caught the guy and held him down until the police could arrive. Though it was the citizens who took the risk, not the forces of law and order, it still counts as a happy resolution for a change. Case solved. Book ‘em, Dano.
Except the announcement on the listserv didn’t stop there. It showed a picture of the man along with his vital statistics and some slightly less happy news. After being charged with breaking and entering and possession of stolen property, the Perp was released. But not before signing a paper promising to appear for his court date. Scouts honor. Now we can all rest easy. If you can’t trust a common thief to keep him word, who can you trust? It isn’t like he was a con man.
But wait. That wasn’t the end of the tale. Turns out once the Keystone Kops had let the villain wander off they discovered he was already wanted on several outstanding warrants. So they were providing the picture and stats to help the rest of us to spot him, chase him down and tackle him again. Your tax dollars at work.
And in a related story: Luckily law enforcement help is on the way. A friend drew my attention to a report in the Podunk Post on a candidate for City Council. Tigress McDaniel is a former student of swine husbandry and the law. No news on whether she graduated with a degree in either of these disciplines, but she does call herself “Queen of Get ‘Er Done.” Kind hearts are more than coronets, and a catchy slogan more than an advanced degree.
One of the things she has done is time, two years for felony identify theft and obtaining property under false pretenses. If Council Woman Tigress can’t rid our neighborhood of thieves, who can? “Vote for a Candidate with Law Enforcement Experience,” should be her slogan.
But until she wins, I guess the man on the street is stuck with the job of running malefactors to ground. Literally.