Recently, my husband and I went to a neighborhood meeting on the prevention of burglaries. Several robberies had prompted the locals to establish neighborhood security and police support.
As I sat and listened to the officer, a big, giant sweetheart type, it put me in mind of how safe I wasn't in the past, and some close calls I've had. Twice I came within seconds of being attacked, but got into a safe locked door. Once back in my hometown, I was pursued by a guy waving his personal hardware. By the time I reached my family's house, just by happenstance my mother opened the front door. The front door mind you. We never used that door. It was always the back. I was even too naive to call the police on a guy pursuing women with clear intent in hand. Another time, when I was attacked, in my own bed by a man threatening to "stab" me and asking for money, I lied and I told him I didn't have any. I lied the whole time he was there. Unbeknownst to me in the moment, he already had the money, but the lie sill makes me wonder. Over the years my apartment and car have been broken into multiple times.
It strikes me how normal this all seemed to me at the time. The police were never much help. Was I just from tougher stuff, different neighborhoods and a variety of apartment buildings? There is a vulnerability to being younger, single, a female, on the busses, often a pedestrian, rarely careless and sometimes targeted.
Now here I am up on the hill with my own car in my locked garage. Money separates us, insulates, protects. Money makes for a different life. Certainly no person or house is impervious to danger. After all, my neighborhood burnt to the ground 20 years ago. It's a bit of irony to ask, where was this neighborhood safety meeting? Once ever watchful and vigilant on the streets, now I go to safety meetings at the Claremont Hotel.
With a Perspective, this is Linda Sondheimer.