Lately, within the past year, the foot traffic through our neighborhood has increased dramatically. It seemed to pick up when one of the neighbors, whose house backs on the one apartment parking lot, cut down a paper bark willow tree. The tree had blocked a direct line of sight—when it was standing, you could not look through to see the apartments. After the tree was down, you can look right through and actually see an apartment balcony. Maybe that clear shot view has encouraged local teens to walk through.
Where we live is within one mile of the local high school, which means at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, quite of few teens are walking through our neighborhood.
So what, you might say. To answer, let me take you back to last winter. Two doors down from our house is our neighborhood’s Good Neighbor Sam. He is the one who breaks the curve for the neighbors. He mows his lawn twice in one week, he clips his shrubbery meticulously. He is seemingly not happy unless he has a project of some sort going. He came out on a winter morning, started his car and went back in his house briefly. In that flash of a moment, a teen walking through the neighborhood saw the running car, and decided to “borrow” it. The car was quickly found by local police, in the high school parking lot. But there was no way of telling who took it.
Until yesterday. Yesterday was a non-teaching day for me, so I was sleeping in, a bit, when I was awakened by my furiously barking dog. She was on our sun porch looking out the window and up the street. So, I looked too. There were two police cars, my neighbor Good Neighbor Sam and his dog, and another neighbor. With them was a young man, sitting on the curb. Shortly three more local police cars drove up.
It seems the kid—because that’s what he is—had taken the car back last winter, kept the keys, then decided to take it again two days ago. Good Neighbor Sam found it at the high school again, and went out and bought a club. Then yesterday morning, the kid walked through again, decided to jump in the car, saw the club, promptly jumped out—but this time he was seen by Good Neighbor Sam, and another neighbor. Case solved.
Except for the kid who has totally screwed up his life. Sadly, it was even someone I had seen in the neighborhood several times before and talked to, trying to be friendly. And, ironically, he was not an apartment resident, not a transient, but someone whose family has lived nearby for many years. Life ruined.