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Monday, July 6, 2015

Locking up in Howard

    I remember when I moved to DC to go to college I had to get used to locking the house and car doors.  Growing up in small town America in the 1950's we never did those two things.  Recently I heard a story on NPR about a theft in Scotland that reminded me of those days.  Here is just a little of that story:

      "The crime rate on the small Hebridean island of Canna, Scotland, skyrocketed overnight this week, when thieves looted a shop that had used the honor system. Locals say it's the first theft on the island in decades. The crimes — which included the theft of six woolly hats — are believed to be the first on Canna since a wooden plate was stolen in the 1960s," reports Scotland's STV.  The Canna Community Shop is next to a pier; it was left open to let fishermen get what they needed overnight. It's run by the island's community trust, which says the shop will now be shut down at night."

     Expecting people to be honest is a tricky thing.   I remember visiting Zurich Switzerland and using their trolley system to get around town.  You brought a ticket at each of the trolley stops for your ride.  I was confused when no one ever took your ticket on the trolley.  I finally asked the manager of the hotel I was staying at why they never take my ticket.  He looked surprised and asked me "Why would anyone ride the trolley and not buy a ticket?"   I didn't explain to him that any transit system in the US that used the honor system would go bankrupt very quickly.
      We live in a fairly safe suburban community.  But reading the crime log in the local newspaper does reinforce the idea that locking our doors and being careful in shopping areas late at night just makes sense for us.  How many times have you returned to your car just to make sure you locked your doors.  I know I find myself doing this all the time.
      All of this makes me envious of places like Zurich and that small Scottish town that still has a working honor system.

    A couple of weeks ago umpiring  a softball game at Centennial Park the game was interrupted by the sound of breaking glass.  Someone had smashed a car window and stolen a cell phone.  This park unfortunately has more than their share of this type of crime.  Much of the parking lot is not visible from the playing fields and this fact makes it more likely to be targeted by thieves.  Just a reminder that even in our area thieves are cruising our parking lots and we should never leave anything of value in view in our vehicles.

P.S. 1
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   The isolated parking area of the Wincopin Trail area off Vollmerhausen Road has too often been a location of smash and grab incidents.  Parks and Rec has installed some security cameras to try to address this issue.

    Personally the only crime I have experienced in 38 years of living here is having a car seat stolen from my unlocked car (guess I didn't learn my lessons from DC well enough) and having a car window smashed for some change I kept in the center console for parking meters.  Two incidents in 38 years--I guess I can live with that.


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