I barely was able to choke out a “good morning” in response. I’ll admit it sounded weak. I was too busy trying to restrain the shriek that still wanted to escape. I hate being startled. As the officer continued down the road, I tried to regain a little of my composure. If one of my goals was to raise my heart rate, I could easily say, “mission accomplished,” with a little help.
At the top of the hill, his car slowed again as he greeted a young family. The dad held the hand of a toddler while the mother pushed the stroller. I could tell they were having a lovely conversation. I consoled myself with the knowledge that they had seen him coming.
Continuing my walk, I passed houses I knew had been burglarized within the past year. Mentally I ticked them off, and I grew alarmed as I realized how many there were right in my neighborhood. Last week’s Journal article about the break-ins in Wilmore merely confirmed what those of us know who are in touch with our neighbors: there are too many to feel safe.
I had no idea that statistics show burglary reports have tripled since January, but it truly does not surprise me. More and more folks are joining the ranks of those who have been victimized. I don’t know what draws thieves to Wilmore– most of us live very modest lives. There are no gated communities, no vast treasure troves of jewelry or valuables.
I noted with a laugh that Thursdays are the most likely days for burglaries. It was probably no coincidence that my encounter with the friendly neighborhood police officer was on a Thursday. It gave me some comfort to know that the cruiser was passing my home that day; I know he was on the lookout for suspicious-looking people.
I had a fleeting notion that perhaps he startled me on purpose to gauge my reaction. Certainly our officers can’t know each of us by sight. But then realistic thinking returned. How many plump middle-aged women walk the streets, cell phone and keys in hand, casing houses for break-ins? And I’ll bet the number is even fewer if you take note of those wearing office casual clothing and pink and gray Nikes.
No, I think he didn’t even know he nearly gave me a heart attack. My one consolation is knowing that if I had keeled over from fright, the officer would likely have known how to give me CPR.
Now… if the police could just scare the bad guys that bad, we’d really be on to something. I wish them many fruitful patrols.