Editorial: Taking back our streets

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

On Monday night a group of fifty some folks gathered at El Divino to discuss a growing concern in the areas where they live. A total of four neighbourhoods were represented, including Alta Mar, San Marcos, San Pablo and Escalante. The sad stories that most of these folks shared in common was falling prey to thieves, while the others who have been spared the traumatic experience fear for the worse.  With stories of brazen in-broad-daylight break-ins, residents have come home to find broken windows, ransacked rooms and missing items of personal and monetary value that they most likely will never see again. Although the point of the meeting was for each area to organize their own Neighborhood Watch program, the stricken residents could not help but share their horror stories with one another.

Sadly, the fact is that this small group of victims represent the majority of people here on the island. Do you know ANYONE in San Pedro who does not have a story about having a bike stolen, their golf cart stolen, their house broken into, items missing from their yard, mugged on the beach or ripped off by an embezzling employee? I challenge you to find someone who has lived here for any amount of time and doesn’t have some story to share.

So is it just me or do you find this observation disturbing? How are we letting this happen to us? Is this how we want to live, behind bars on our windows and in fear of sounds that go bump in the night?  At the meeting we were told to get to know WHO are and ARE NOT our neighbours. Learn to recognize familiar faces on your street and suspect the ones you’ve never seen before. As a community we need to unite to protect our homes and our families. We all know the limitations of the San Pedro police force and we have to take measures into our own hands. Share phone numbers with your neighbours and keep a watchful eye at all times. A Neighborhood Watch program can work wonders in your area and with everyone doing their part changes can be made. That said pressure still needs to be applied to our town leaders to work with the police in remedying this problem. We are a small island with just a matter of a few miles encompassing our town core and with effective policing; along with community involvement we can take back our streets from the thieves who currently own them.

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