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Morning Sun
  • EDITORIAL: Be a neighbor; be on the lookout

  • Home is supposed to be a place of safety. It's supposed to be a place of refuge. There is a lot of time and effort spent in making home feel comfortable and protected.

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  • Home is supposed to be a place of safety. It's supposed to be a place of refuge. There is a lot of time and effort spent in making home feel comfortable and protected.
      Which is why when that home is invaded, it is a violation that truly cuts deep. A burglary or a theft is a seed of doubt planted in what should be a safe haven.
      This week, the Morning Sun reported on not one string of burglaries, but two.
      One of those strings of burglaries involved primarily break-ins to cars and outbuildings near Chicopee rather than the homes. The Crawford County Sheriff's Department is looking for what is believed to be a male subject driving a red car with a loud exhaust.
      Perhaps the more frightening of the recurring burglaries mostly happened two weeks ago in southwest Pittsburg, but is still alarming. The thieves not only broke into the home itself, but did so occasionally when the victim was at home, even being so brazen as to steal items from right over the sleeping victim's head. These break-ins have been during the day and during the night. These invasions have included jimmying open locked doors and using butcher knives to cut open screens.
      These burglaries and thefts break the trust that people have put into their own security. So what can residents do to fight this broken trust?
      One of the best tips local law enforcement gave to residents when their trust is broken is to, interestingly, build trust. In particular, this means befriending and communicating with your neighbors, so that they can keep an eye on your home.
      No one knows your neighborhood quite like those who live in it. While intricate security systems will help, nothing is more effective than a network of trustworthy and trusted people looking out for each other.
      There's no time like the present to get to know one's neighbors. Need a conversation starter? With the holidays fast approaching, visit them and set up a Christmas cookie exchange. Or maybe set up a Pittsburg State tailgate party for the neighborhood.
      Setting up an informal neighborhood watch is no guarantee of safety, but then again little is. These burglars have already shown they will not be stopped by a locked door, and a security system may not be enough to stop them, either.
      What will stop them is being caught. And a set of watchful neighbors can catch them in the act. It's another tool, besides improved locks, a security system, etc., that could help keep your home a place of safety. And even if nothing else, the neighborhood may grow just a little bit closer.   By Andrew Nash, for the Morning Sun

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