A thoughtful column by Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Rick Badie on the ways people are changing their lives to deal with the threat of crime. It raises a question: is crime really more prevalent because the economy has gone south? The kids (and they are kids) and young adults running robbery rings and invading homes to steal televisions aren’t doing these things on their hours off from some legitimate work, and there has been absolutely no reduction in levels of support available from social services, so (unlike the rest of us) they aren’t being squeezed in their home lives.
This is a criminal subculture. If anything is making them seem more aggressive now, it is police furloughs and the collapse of the courts. Backlogs in court hearings, ever more intense pressure to let people go on first, second, tenth offenses, cases simply being dropped because there aren’t the resources to try them — this is what puts more, and bolder, criminals on the streets.
So when legislators and activists start talking about making burglaries into misdemeanors and funneling more people into “community alternatives to sentencing” (from whence most abscond) and ending the practice of incarcerating people under 17 and cutting back even further on police services — well, that’s when you really start to seem less crazy for taking a gun with you to walk to your own mailbox.