Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stop it already with the "home invasion" nonsense

A pet peeve with the editors of local newspapers is with the misleading attention-grabbing headlines. A common example, especially with the Daily Journal, is the use of the wards "Home Invasion" regarding the reporting of some recent incidents.

These words are are intended to generate apprehension and fear in the general public, and hence to sell more newspapers. This culture of fear is not healthy for the community or well-being of the neighborhoods. God knows we need all of the positive reinforcement and support we can get as citizen-groups, the city and churches work diligently and cooperate to stem the tide of blight that threatens our neighborhoods.

Yes, we do have a gang problem. Yes we do have a problem with nuisance activities such as prostitution and drugs plaguing our city. Our neighborhoods have a litter problem, and we cannot sleep at night due to nuisance activity that is not quite criminal.

However - we do NOT have a problem with innocent bystanders being shot in drive-by's. We don't have an epidemic of innocent people having their doors kicked in, and housed robbed at gunpoint by complete strangers.

The wanton use of the term "home invasion" by our local press creates visions of roving gangs preying upon the innocent. This is just not so. in every case of a "home invasion" that I have discussed with our law reinforcement, drugs were involved. Almost every incident involves a drug deal gone bad.

The shootings are either drug related, or gang related, or in some sad instances the results of domestic situations that should have been dealt with long ago.

I am a firm believer in confronting issues head-on. I don't advocate sticking our heads int he proverbial sands and pretending there are not crime issues. However, it is critical that we understand clearly the causes and factors.

For years our local law enforcement and even members of city commission denied we had a gang problem. If you refuse to admit a problem, you cannot begin to solve it. Only upon recognizing this plague have we begun taking action. And so it is with all areas of nuisance and criminal conduct. We must recognize, acknowledge and attack.

This of course, does not negate the responsibility of every citizen to take action to ensure their own security and the security of their households. With only 80 or so police in a city of 27.000 chances are law enforcement will arrive AFTER the fact. Your eyes are the most important, if we want to make headway.

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