I was just reading the tragic story of a 14 year old girl who was kidnapped after a home invasion near Atlanta, GA. The scumbags came in through the back door of the home early in the morning and demanded money and jewelry, after which they shot the family dog and took off with the young girl. They are currently demanding a $10,000 ransom for her safe return. I sincerely hope that law enforcement tracks these bottom feeders down and brings Ms. Perez safely back to her family.
Those sentiments aside, here is what stuck out to me in this article. I’ve read comments like this time and time again from people who apparently believe that bad things never happen to good people or in middle class neighborhoods.
Maties Otalis, a father of four who has lived in the neighborhood for two years, said he was stunned by the kidnapping.
“We always have police around this area,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t expect such to happen in my neighborhood. I feel like moving out of this area.
According to reports this crime took place in Ellenwood, Georgia, a town about 10 miles southeast of Atlanta. I typed in Ellenwood into Google Maps and simply zoomed in a few times, not trying to single out any one home but just to get a snapshot of what the general area looked like. I won’t post a picture here but if you complete this exercise as well you’ll notice that all of the homes appear to me of the middle class variety. Nice 3 to 4 bedroom brick/wood/vinyl clones all arranged neatly in their subdivisions with 2-3 car garages and well manicured lawns. Not exactly where most would expect a crime of this magnitude to occur, or is it?
Reality: Crime can happen anywhere at anytime and that includes vanilla middle class America’s backyard. When people say things like “this doesn’t happen here” I usually think something like “well it just did.” Think like the average criminal for a moment and ponder the best way to score some quick cash or valuables. Are you going to go after people in the projects who probably have no cash or valuables on hand? Probably not and it’s a good way to get shot as the probability of rival dealers or thugs in the area remains high. Would you go after the super wealthy in their estates near the golf course? Too much risk there as well, high dollar security systems in place and the homeowners probably have their goods locked away in a sturdy safe.
No if you are a criminal the quickest score is going to be against those lazy, trusting, minivan driving and completely unaware middle class types. They surely won’t see you coming because they believe that crime doesn’t happen in their neighborhood, after all a cop lives a few doors down from them. They won’t put up a fight, most likely cower in the corner begging for their lives while telling you to take whatever you want. While a few have the ADT sign out in the yard, most don’t. It’s unlikely that many of them will have a gun nearby and ready to access either, those who do have guns usually keep them locked up in a separate location because they have small children. Yes that’s the easy score and that’s why you’ll go there. You’ll kick in that cheap cookie cutter door and be in and out in 5 minutes or less.
I hope by now you have gotten the point of this article and I sincerely hope (given the type of person who might be reading this) I’m preaching to the choir. Crime knows no boundaries, it can happen anywhere at anytime so we must remain vigilant. Ultimately we are responsible for protecting our home and loved ones because when you need them the police could often be 5 to 10 minutes away, more than enough time for a tragedy similar to what took place in Ellenwood, GA to unfold. It really all boils down to the motto of this website: Life isn’t fair, plan accordingly.