Social Question

DigitalBlue's avatar

How secure do you feel where you live?

Asked by DigitalBlue (6468 points ) July 27th, 2012

I was looking something up for a friend, yesterday, and I came across this graph (I censored to protect my anonymity), and my heart sunk. This is where I live. It isn’t as if I don’t know that this area has a reputation, and has earned it, but seeing that image shocked me.
Moving isn’t an option, anytime soon, but I often feel that living here is destroying my life – and putting me at risk of becoming a victim of violent crime. I think that this is something that commonly weighs on the minds of everyone who lives here, because it is in our face, and as a result many, many people have moved away. I have lived here all of my life, so I’m not sure that I know what it is like to feel safe and secure in my hometown.

Do you feel safe where you live? Does crime cross your mind infrequently? Have you ever lived in an area where you did feel insecure or feared for your safety?

Do you lock your doors at night?

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40 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I live in the middle of nowhere. I sometimes forget to lock the doors. But I drive 6 miles into the city where I work and the cops tell me there are some streets they’re scared to go on. Drugs are a major problem in a lot of places.

poisonedantidote's avatar

At the moment, on the sleepy island of Mallorca, in my little dull town, I feel totally safe. Crime hardly enters my mind here, it is all mostly minor stuff.

However, when I was living in the UK not so long ago, in a rather nasty area, it was almost always on my mind. There are not many places you will see an adult kick an infant in a carriage, but this town was one of them.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Lock the doors, Yes.
Feel secure, Yes.
Aware of surroundings, Yes.

Three murders within two miles, one home invasion and two domestic arguments gone bad. This is a suburban area.

DaphneT's avatar

I feel that security slipping away with each passing day. Crime exists here, but moves in waves. One area will be hit and dealt with, then a few months later another area. Murders are less prevalent. I live rural so locking up isn’t easy nor does it seem practical. A conundrum.

Trillian's avatar

Funny you should ask that. I felt safe up until a few weeks ago when I found that someone had been inside my house. I found my favorite Starbucks coffee cup had been used as an ashtray with water in it. The water had all dried up and there was only ash left, and some burns inside where cigarettes had fallen in and burned down.
Then my next door neighbor told me that his house had been entered a couple times, and a girl a few doors down had seen a car that didn’t belong here on several different occasions.
So, not as safe as I used to feel.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Let’s see…what’s in the Memphis news today? Top 3 headlines:
* Ex-boyfriend Wanted in Shooting
* Family Doused with Gasoline in Home Invasion
* Victim Chases Robbers Down the Street (the robbers had a gun)

Despite living in the suburbs, we are still susceptible out here. Someone entered the garage while I was in the house for a short period and took the garage door remote control out of my car and a package out of the roommate’s. One time, I had the back door propped open to catch a breeze, and a man wandered into my back yard (which is fenced in), and peered into the doorway. The doors are now kept locked at all times, and they aren’t opened to anyone unless they are expected.

I look forward to moving to England. Yes, they have their share of crime there as well. It typically runs along the lines of burglary and alcohol-related incidents (pub brawls, driving). We keep the doors locked there as well, especially since we live across from a pub. Someone once nicked two pairs of my Wellies from the car port. Lesson learned.

jca's avatar

I lock the doors when I’m home but not necessarily when I’m not home. When I’m home, it’s only due to paranoia, because the area I live in is very safe, very quiet, 24/7. There’s nothing going on, crime-wise where I live.

mowens's avatar

I learned a lesson a long time ago when I tried to save money living cheap.

It is worth spending more to be safe. I live in a great neighborhood, with overprotective police and no crime. I pay more than I should. I am safe. That is all that matters to me.

wonderingwhy's avatar

I feel safe, however I believe that is largely a state of mind built from general knowledge, awareness, and acceptance. To be sure, where I live now is considered “safe” by way of similar comparison but it’s not what it once was and the increasing creep of crime and victimization is statistically obvious. I don’t consciously think about it other than to keep an eye on where it’s trending locally. But, then we do lock our doors and largely wouldn’t think to do otherwise, there are areas one would be wise to avoid at night, and general precautions that seem wiser to take than not so I can’t say it’s out of our minds completely, but it’s hardly at the forefront.

I’ve lived in areas notably less safe, I feared for my safety in the sense that I certainly paid closer attention to my surroundings, took greater precautions, and was much more aware of the circumstances and likelihood of being a victim; however it’s not like it kept me from going out or being engaged with the area. On the other hand I’ve lived where it wouldn’t even cross my mind to lock my door, where being out at 3am is, in my mind, of no significantly greater risk than 3pm, and where it’s generally safe to be oblivious of ones specific surroundings.

As a related aside, when we move next, the consideration of security and local safety does seem to be entering into the equation to a much greater extent then it ever has prior. Perhaps because our next stop may, for the first time, legitimately be our last or perhaps as we get older we’re simply getting tired of having to maintain such awareness and that we no longer value the the rewards stemming from the risk as highly. Regardless, I’m looking forward to worrying more about philosophy, sports scores, and my next beer than whether or not I remembered to lock the doors, set the alarm, or left my wallet on the dash.

Leanne1986's avatar

I feel pretty safe where I live to the point that I often forget to lock my doors at night (which my boyfriend, who doesn’t live with me, get’s quite cross about). The area is fairly safe as there is a very strong military and police presence and my landlady lives in the flat above me so she keeps me in the loop of neighbourhood goings on. My dog makes a lot of noise as well if she thinks that anyone is about so they would be a fool to try and break in to my place! It’s mostly military or old people that live in my neighbourhood and I have never once had any reason to worry. I should remember to lock my doors though.

ucme's avatar

Very.

wundayatta's avatar

There has been what appears to be an increase in muggings and robberies in the last year or so in my neighborhood. One of my neighbors set up a list, and my wife is on it, and they are constantly informing me of the latest crime in the surrounding few blocks.

Well, ok, but aside from having my car stolen two decades ago, and having a few quarters stolen from my car a few years ago, nothing has hit me, personally, nor my family, nor anyone I know, personally, in the neighborhood.

I think crime statistics need to be placed in context. I don’t know how much crime there is per capita here compared to elsewhere, but it seems to me that is important. I’m sure there is other context that is important.

We have an alarm system which has never been set off by a criminal. Spiders, mice, and dead phone lines—sure. Lots of alarms due to those things. The odd service man or woman who forgot their pin—even more false alarms. Sometimes we pay a penalty for false alarms. Although once we had the fire men tromping through our house due to a fire in a wok. That could have been serious, I suppose.

We don’t walk around alone at night—at least my wife doesn’t. I wonder how many women do in other kinds of areas: like rural and suburban? I see plenty of single women walking their dogs in the neighborhood at night, so obviously, not everyone is bothered by the perception of crime.

We lock the doors and close the windows. We turn on the alarm at night. Sometimes we forget to lock the doors and nothing ever has happened.

I think security is not so much a matter of absolutes, but a perception. The perception is based on different factors for different people. I feel quite secure, even though my wife tries to make me feel insecure. I hope I never have cause to change my perception.

bookish1's avatar

I live in a college town that does have a lot of crime, both of the stupid-frat-man-children variety and the burglary/car-theft/sexual assault variety. When I’m out at night, I think about safety and what streets I walk on.

I trust my immediate neighbors in my apartment complex, but that’s as far as my trust extends. I keep my door locked at all times unless I am right out front for a cigarette.

Coloma's avatar

Extremely safe and I do not take it for granted either.
I live on 5 acres on a tiny, private, dead end road and am the 2nd of 3 houses all of which are on 10 acre parcels with a vacant 20+ acres right across the road from me.
I have mentioned before that I never lock my house, keys are in the ignition of my car at all times, doors and windows open all night.
I haven’t even SEEN my house keys in over 6 years, think they are in my desk somewhere. lol

The other night I sat up outside on my deck until after 2 am watching some magnificent lightening storms over the hills here, buck naked, nothing around except the shrieking of owls and the whooping Coyotes. I LOVE the safety factor of living on a secluded property.
I’d be a fish out of water if I ever had to move back to the city and be paranoid about all the potential crime.

YARNLADY's avatar

I feel fairly safe in my neighborhood. I keep my garage door and my family room door open to let in the air as much as I can. I close up at night, but not all the doors are locked. I live on a cul-de-sac so only the local residents come on my street.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Don’t know what that graph is supposed to do….?

Very safe. Don’t lock the doors. About half of our daily police reports read “Cow out, 160 West.”

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III LOL…same here. I phoned in a giant black cow in the middle of the road one night myself. Man, such dangers for us country mice. There are a fair amount of drunken redneck bubbas in their ranch trucks…the 100 pak of Coors Lite a night types, but I am not out on these mountain roads after dark, if the deer don’t nail you you have some good ol’ boy in his monster truck beaming his floodlights into your brain. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Once Rick and I came upon a herd of ‘cow outs.” It was a farm that was situated right off the highway. They hadn’t gotten to the road yet. We drove up into the pasture / front yard of the house and Rick got out and calmly shooed them back through the hole in the fence. I played cowboy in the Suburban and headed off any who tried to go around him. For once it was nice being bigger than a cow. Then the owner came out. He was impressed. He said most people want to scream and yell at cows to make them do stuff, but we didn’t. He also said thanks.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Dutchess_III it compares the crime rates in my town to those of my state, and national averages, per capita.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Fairly to not so much. The house I’m staying in doesn’t lock. Next to bad neighborhood. But I have barky dogs here, a giant ice ax next to my bed, and spray mace. I sleep sometimes.

cookieman's avatar

Growing up, I lived about four miles from downtown Boston and was taught to always lock doors and windows. We were in a relatively safe suburb, but my folks were probably cautious given the proximity of the city (plus we were on a bus and train line).

As an adult, I live about twenty miles outside of Boston in what I presume is a very safe (boring), more country-like suburb. I still lock all my doors and windows at all times.

I don’t even think about it. It’s just what you do (like shutting a light in a room when you leave).

Bilbo123's avatar

“In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that means comfort.”

blueiiznh's avatar

I too grew up in the city and it was normal and ingrained in us to lock all doors and car locks.

When I moved to the North Shore in Mass as an adult, the habit stayed to lockup at night.

When I moved to a sleepy town in NH that had more horses than people, I felt the ability to not worry. I started to find it ok to leave my doors unlocked or doors still open in the summer. Even after a break-in (daytime empty house), I do still feel secure.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DigitalBlue But I didn’t see any controls to set it so that it will calculate where I live…

DigitalBlue's avatar

@Dutchess_III that’s because it’s just a photo… :)

Bellatrix's avatar

I feel and am very safe where I live. When we moved in the old man before us had put bars on the doors but there really isn’t a need for them. That’s about the media beat up about home safety rather than any crime problem. The most crime we have experience (touching wood here) is someone going through our car that we forgot to lock and stealing a phone. We often forget to lock the doors at night. I wouldn’t walk around the neighbourhood at night but I could. The chances of anything happening are remote.

I hope you can move soon. I have never lived anywhere where I felt so unsafe.

rooeytoo's avatar

Supposedly the crime rate is dropping but it sure doesn’t seem like it. I lock the doors and the cars are locked. I live in a medium size town (by aussie standards) and close to a major city and the papers are full of crime especially drug and alcohol fueled ones. Now you may say the media only reports bad things but they aren’t making them up, they are happening. So I have to say, I feel reasonably safe in my house but I don’t push my luck by going out for a run too late at night and that is a shame. One time in Singapore during a late night taxi ride back to the hotel, the driver pointed out a lone female walking down a dark street. He said that is the way it should be, all should feel free to walk alone at night. There are some definite advantages to tough laws and punishments for those who deny others that freedom.

woodcutter's avatar

Pretty much, because it’s a small town but the shits from the large city 15 miles away come out because from what I’ve heard there’s a drug market, mostly meth here. People can cook it easier out here. We have large barking dogs outside who will warn us if someone gets too close. Last week I happened to be out front and saw a couple guys run from across the highway and sneak though the wire fence on our side that abuts the rancher, who has a lot of metals and such that dopers like to sneak out there and steal. So I followed them stealthily out to watch what they were up to and they spotted me and hauled ass out of there creating more suspicion. Apparently they had been down back earlier with a little red wagon with two huge a/c evaporator coils (CU and AL) and were retrieving that booty when I interrupted them. I called the owner who called the cops and we all went back down there. He had his dog, I had mine, and when we looked through the stuff we found what looked like some kind of improvised gun under the coils gasp.

What I kept under my hat was my pistol in “Mexican carry” the whole time and after I told the rancher, he fessed up and told me he was packing too. These druggies my be stupid but they are nothing to be half -assed messing with. all this activity going on right behind where I live and I’ve always had this feeling there was stuff going on down there because things would look out of place. I know that area like the back of my hand.

We do keep all the doors secured even during the day. I can feel when shit is going down and lately it’s been seeming more sinister. I don’t like unknowns skiffling around at night behind the house in the woods, it’s creepy and no one has any reason to be there. Hopefully those guys got spooked enough to stay away from now on but when the dope jones comes a calling they will do things that are out of character for them. At least the cops are involved now.but I’m not sure how much good that’s going to be. Gonna try not to let this sweat me but I will be wearing a strap down there from now on.

Really hate dopers they don’t do anything good for mankind, all they do is take. Very selfish.

bookish1's avatar

Does anyone here leave the key in the ignition of their car anymore? My understanding is that people used to do that routinely (from old American books I’ve read, at least :-p) and it blows my mind.

augustlan's avatar

I was a little kid in a big suburb just north of Washington, DC, and my grandfather was a cop, then a firefighter. Can you say “paranoia”? Doors locked, car locked even when you’re in it, never use a fireplace, drive a car with the motor in the rear, or ride a motorcycle. Those were my grandfather’s mantras.

Later, as a teen, I lived in one of the worst neighborhoods in a town slightly north of my original town. Tons of crime, but for some reason I felt invincible. I frequently roamed the streets at 3AM, a female on her own and nothing bad ever happened to me when I did.

As an adult, I’ve lived in much safer places, but the paranoia returned. I no longer felt safe on my own at night. Where I live now is not a great neighborhood, so it’s fairly justified here. We’ve had many things stolen out of our outbuildings, and we live two houses down from a pawn shop. Doors and windows locked at night, and most of the day, too.

downtide's avatar

I feel safe here; it’s not a totally crime-free area but there are plenty worse ones in Manchester. My doors are not necessarily locked when I’m home but I do check that they’re locked when I go to bed.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@bookish1 my neighbor did it a few weeks ago, and his vehicle was stolen. True story. They still haven’t recovered it, actually, and it was a day or two before his wedding.

downtide's avatar

@DigitalBlue if you leave your keys in the car and it gets stolen, your insurance won’t cover the theft. Ditto if you leave your house door unlocked and get burgled.

DigitalBlue's avatar

@downtide good to know. I lock my car, anyhow… and my house. I was surprised to hear that my neighbor’s keys were in the car, I don’t know if it is something that he commonly does, or if he was just forgetful (as that was obviously a busy weekend in his life).

Coloma's avatar

@bookish1 Yep, keys in the ignition always. I also rarely take my keys out of my car when I go anywhere out here in my area.There are 3 towns in a 30 mile radius that offer all amenities and I am so programmed to not be fearful that I probably take some chances now and then.
I’m more afraid of the rattlesnakes even over the mountain lions, speaking of which, I heard one huffing in the dark last night in the ravine below my deck.

I fear being snagged out of my hot tub by some big claws or tripping over a monster viper. lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

Like @Coloma my keys are in the ignition – where they belong. The house is never locked even when we are away on vacation.

Coloma's avatar

@LuckyGuy Haha ” Where they belong”...yep, I agree. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@LuckyGuy I don’t lock my house because if my kids or grandkids come by, and the house is locked they get the screen off the bathroom window (screen locks from the inside) and crawl through the window. Then they never undbend the screen and put it back on the window!

wundayatta's avatar

My parents hand out keys to the people they don’t mind entering the house while they are away. It’s a custom we decided to emulate. Sometimes it seems like half the neighbors have keys to the house and codes to the alarm.

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