Editorial: Crime is nothing new
It’s enough to make you afraid to go … well, anywhere.
Even though, statistically, we know that the places we go every day are no more dangerous than they have ever been.
Violent crime rates have dropped 49% since 1993, according to the FBI. But the Pew Research Center says Americans don’t perceive their world to be that safe, with 60% of those responding to annual Gallup surveys saying they felt crime was up over the year before.
That could be because while we might not experience crime personally, the violence we are aware is happening around us is sometimes huge and unavoidable.
No one could pretend they were unaware of the Walmart shooting in El Paso, just like no one could pretend they didn’t know about the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in Squirrel Hill.
Even if you weren’t shopping in a Texas border town on that Saturday morning, it was the kind of thing that you could do in your own town. It felt like it could have been you. You take your kids to the store to buy backpacks. You drop off your mom for her weekly grocery run.
Maybe you’ve never been to Dayton or stood outside the bar that was shot up, but you have gone out with co-workers for a drink or met up with friends to celebrate. It’s easy to put yourself in those shoes.
Every place has random crime, like the Thursday stabbing in Pittsburgh. But those are the exception, not the rule, and we can’t let those exceptions make us afraid to interact with our communities.
Bomb threats like those reported in Allegheny and Washington counties Thursday have to be taken seriously because the best defense against any threat is awareness. But it is equally important to be aware that most bomb threats are threats and not bombs.
You shouldn’t ignore the bad things in the world. You can’t pretend the crime doesn’t happen.
You just don’t have to give criminals the power to make you think the world is scarier than it is.