Sioux Falls is Not Becoming Gotham City, Lock Your Car and Stop Helping Criminals [OPINION]
Welp, here we go again. It seems that the message of 'lock your car, especially if you have the equivalent of hundreds of dollars sitting in it,' is going unheeded.
If you're going to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone or a gun, or thousands of dollars for a car, it just makes sense to protect your property. Lock your house and cars and don't leave valuables unattended in plain sight.
Warning people about this is not victim-blaming. Someone who has their property stolen is not at fault, the fault and the crime are still on the criminal. This is about avoiding becoming a victim.
B-B-But Sioux Falls used to be a safe Leave it to Beaver paradise! "In my day you could leave your doors open and keep your money in a box on the streets."
We all own things that are valuable. There are people that will try to steal those valuables. That's been a fact of life for all of history, everywhere on the planet.
Wishing for the good 'ol days isn't going to stop some drunk goofball from stealing a running car while the owner is getting a gas station cappuccino on a cold day. Or stop a sticky-fingered dumdum from reaching into an open car window and swiping a wallet sitting on the seat.
Random Crimes of Opportunity
There isn't a huge organized group of professional cat burglars out there prowling the dark streets of our fair city. It's more likely random crimes of opportunity. Somebody sees a chance and takes it. Whether it's someone who wants something they can't afford, wants to sell it for money, or is doing it for the thrill.
I grew up in a town of 6000 people in western Nebraska, it was the biggest town in the area. In fact, when I was a kid we had to travel to the next biggest town (population 10,000) to go to Walmart or McDonald's. I graduated high school with about 90% of the people I started kindergarten with. Most everyone knew everyone and had lived there for generations. It was as idealistic as small-town America can get. And I was still raised to lock up what I didn't want to be stolen. You lock your house, you lock your bike (or at least put it in the locked garage) and you lock your car.
We weren't driven by paranoia about evil criminal gangs. It was common sense to ward off the dumb kid, the drunk, and the desperate.
I have been robbed three times in my life, all because I didn't lock my stuff up. Once in high school, I had several cassettes stolen from my locker because I didn't lock it. Once in New Mexico, my truck was broken into. They got in through the unlocked back cab window and took a CD collection. The third time was in Sioux Falls, I came out one morning to find my dome light on and glove box open. I hadn't left anything in the car (I learned the lesson at least), but I had not locked it.
All three of these incidents follow the same pattern. The thief was looking for an opportunity to steal something. Checking lockers or going from car to car until they found one unlocked.
Yes, the criminal is responsible for the crime, but it's on all of us to take care of ourselves and our property.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates, or advertisers.
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