Marc, the neighborhood watch captain

A couple things came to mind as I read your article. Neighborhood watch groups came about as a result of rising crime in suburban neighborhoods and the inability of police to be everywhere at once. The greatest deterrent to property crimes is an alert neighborhood. It troubles me that you live in a neighborhood with a watch group but apparently were uninvolved to the point where the watch captain didn’t even know your son. That responsibility falls on you and your family. That you feel it’s intrusive is the exact attitude that leads to more crime; you want protection but you want it only on your terms. Had someone backed up a moving truck to your house, emptied its contents and driven away in the middle of the day as neighbors drove by — you’ d be incensed that “Someone” didn’t call the cops, that cops didn’t patrol and stop, that “Someone” didn’t do something. Get involved —Be someone who takes the first step to preventing this sort of thing from happening.

Did John over react; from what you’ve provided yes he did. were his intentions good — he was looking out for you and your property. How many times have you interacted with John? Obviously not much. How well do YOU know your neighbors, their children, their friends? Do you know when they’re on vacation? Who’s retired or home during the day? If not, why not? Sticking your head in the sand and putting the burden on everyone else to watch out for you is not helping anyone; especially you and your family.

You also have significantly over exaggerated the entire episode. A dozen cop cars? Guns drawn? Please — that’s your fear, not reality. Cops don’t run around with guns drawn without any suspects in sight or reason to; it's against all training and policy. A Dozen cars? A few maybe but even the acknowledged “excessive response” should be a reason for celebration not fear. There are neighborhoods that would be lucky to have any cops show up for a possible, unconfirmed property crime.

Any interactions between people (teenagers in particular) and police when a possible crime is being committed has the potential to escalate. Teach your children how to interact and behave when dealing with police, don’t escalate, be respectful, acknowledge the difficulty of being a police officer. They never know what might happen, when someone will pull a gun or randomly try and end his/her life simply for doing their job. Remember — someone called THEM. Get involved — that means you, not someone else that you can bitch about. Get to know your neighbors, their patterns, their cars and children. Be proactive. You could have learned a valuable lesson but it sounds more like you just want to stay in your house and bitch about how things went, further degrade race relations, disparage police and neighbors for doing their jobs without taking any responsibility for how your actions or inaction contributed to the situation. Learn from this — you don’t live in Mayberry.

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