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Monday, July 29, 2013

Howard County crime reports


    Like most County residents I read the Howard County crime reports in the local newspapers.  What I look for is how close crime happens to areas I frequent and the descriptions of the crime victims.  Somehow this is a process of determining my risk of being a crime victim.  Having said this I have always felt safe in our community and have rarely changed any of my plans to reflect information learned in the crime reports.  But reports like the following one in the news lately does cause me to reflect on the safety of one particular group in our community---young persons.  The following reports were posted in the Columbia Patch last week:

      "According to police, a boy was walking along a bike path near the 5400 block of Wild Turkey Lane toward Harpers Choice Village Center around 1 p.m., when he was held up by two young men.  One of the men pulled out a revolver, pointed it at the boy and demanded his iPhone and sunglasses. The boy was able to push the suspect's arm away and flee to an open garage nearby, police said, where he called 911.  He told police he knew the suspects and after an investigation, police were able to arrest and charge the suspects with armed robbery and weapons charges. Desmond Aaron Moore, 20, of Baltimore and a 17-year-old Columbia boy were arrested and charged."

    "In the second robbery, two teens—ages 13 and 15—reportedly punched a girl in the face as she walked along the 9700 block of Broken Land Parkway around 8:30 p.m. and stole her cell phone.  After being punched, police said, the girl yelled for help and the two boys dropped the cell phone and fled, said police. Another girl was with the two boys at the time of the incident and police were able to locate her. She was able to identify the two boys who were arrested.  The teens' names were not released due to their age."

    My quick assessment of these reports was that since both the victims were young persons and in the first case the attackers seemed to select a victim they knew.  From this information I would not have probably been a victim if I had been in those situations at the time the crimes happened.  It does seem that the more characteristics crime victims share with perpetrators of crime the more likely it is that you will be a crime victim.  On this basis my being an older man who doesn't know anyone who is a likely violent attacker provides me with the security of not being a probable crime victim.
     All of this reminds me of my experience working with grandmothers raising their grandchildren in Baltimore.   These families lived in some of the most crime ridden neighborhoods in Baltimore.  These environments couldn't be more dissimilar from our suburban neighborhoods.  When I talked with these grandmothers about their sense of personal safety they expressed little fear for themselves but expressed real concern for the safety of their grandchildren, especially their grandsons.  They tried to keep a close watch on the daily activities of their younger grandchildren but acknowledged their fears of losing control of their grandchildren's activities as they grew older.  Discussions frequently lead in the direction of how the influence of gang culture was harder to combat without the counterbalance of a strong positive male role model.
     Bringing it back to Howard County we can be proud of the efforts of a variety of organizations and individuals who are working to address the need for positive programs for our youth.  Some of these efforts were highlighted in a news release from Howard County government.  Take some time to look at these efforts and consider engaging in some of these programs.

   One additional mentoring resource to consider is the A-OK program which is always looking for volunteers.

P.S. 1
   We all probably cringe when we hear someone use a double negative in a sentence or hear someone end a sentence in a preposition (I have to self correct this all the time writing this blog) but you probably didn't know you were using these words wrong.

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