Community Policing While Neighbors Remain Strangers
I grew up in the 1980s to parents whom were pretty overprotective. It was the age of the milk carton kids-those poor, innocent souls who went missing without a trace. My sisters and I would view these ” missing child” photos as we ate our cereal. In 1984, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was founded. Despite this, back in the day, we were encouraged to know our neighbors as well as just about every member of their family. We knew what they liked, didn’t like and what would get us reported to our parents. Needless to say, I wasn’t allowed to play in the middle of a thru street nor did I feel deprived as a result.
The story about the Buffalo cop who was called on kids for playing football in the street was nice and heart warming. However, should we be applauding cops for not being jerks and are we missing some bigger issues here? Why can’t a neighbor ask another neighbor not to allow their kids to play in the middle of a thru street and/or to take their game to a park? Isn’t that the main reason the cop was called to began with-because neighbors can’t communicate with one another without offending someone or even risking reprisal? It’s a sad truth. Cops are often called because citizens don’t feel they can resolve issues between themselves, in their own neighborhoods. Many people don’t even know their neighbors. This lack of community isn’t always inadvertant, but a choice by many.
While reviewing the associated comments on social media regarding the Buffalo cop, I was actually suprised only a few people saw kids playing in a thru streets the same way I did-a public nuisance. Most people seemed to feel I was just a “big meanie” who hated kids having fun which isn’t the case. I like kids and I love the idea of them being safe with good well being even more. I heard comments from users expressing people shouldn’t be driving so fast in a residential area to maybe their parents weren’t home so they couldn’t take their kids to the park to maybe the park was just too far away. We’re in the midst of a major opioid epidemic, with more people driving impaired, often without a license or insurance. Not to mention, many communities are crawling with very mobile sex offenders. We live in a society where legislation has to be enacted to stop parents from leaving their own children in hot cars, yet we expect people to be discreet about the speed limit in a residential area just because kids are playing out there? We live in a society where people profess to be pro-life but don’t want kids to have food stamps or healthcare through Medicaid yet we think people care about parents being unable to take their kids to the park or the park being too far away?
If only our children lived in a perfect world and we didn’t have to worry about such things. Reality check, we don’t. What’s wrong with raising children to be aware of potential dangers, to follow community rules, not to take liberties, that nobody owes them anything or to even count on the humanity of your fellow man, yet still see the world and other people as generally good. To respect all people, whether you like them or not, whether you agree with them or not, even if they are not Mom and Dad? I get it, it’s not all about our neighbors but just remember, it’s not all about anyone.
Are your neighbors easy to talk to? Do you find them to be hypersensitive regarding any requests or criticism which may involve children? Does this help children’s confidence and self-esteem in the long run?