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Jack Simpson - As summer heats up, prepare to guard against crime

If crime hasn't yet reached your neighborhood, consider yourself lucky. Warmer months tend to cause greater concern for individual safety.

What causes all these crimes we read about or hear about on television news programs? Primarily individuals and their differences, weaknesses, compulsions, anxieties and frustrations.

Some people are mad at the world. They have had poor training at home and were too lazy and irresponsible to learn in school. It has been awhile since they darkened the door of the church where once they went to Sunday school. Some criminals cannot control their urges or tempers. They may be alcohol or drug users, are weak, have sorry role models and no worthwhile goals in life. They figure the world owes them a living. They feel they need not work, be productive, or contribute to their community.

Soon schools will be out for the summer. Unless children have planned, supervised activities, then many of them will roam the streets and eventually some will find trouble. When they do, you may become a victim.

Chances are good that crimes against persons and property will increase. Jobs are scarce. Prices are higher and gasoline may eat into the recreation budget. Drive-offs from the pumps will be common and peddling drugs may become the substitute for missing summer jobs.

Vacant houses and foreclosures will be targets of thieves who will break in to steal, rip copper pipes out of the walls and make off with air conditioners. Those with computer skills will steal identities and charge on accounts not their own. Passing bad checks and counterfeiting money will also be criminal activities for those who do not respect the law.

Innocent people and those with fixed incomes and limited resources will be victimized. Senior citizens will be the most vulnerable.

The way we rezone and build our neighborhoods does not help alleviate our crime problem. We crowd more people into less space, provide less public areas and make the streets popular for roaming gangs and those who "hang out." Unsupervised youngsters often burglarize homes and steal property from industrious people.

Those who spend hard-earned money for fancy wheels may come home to find their cars jacked up and the wheels gone. Maybe the catalytic converter has been stolen for sale to the scrap yard.

Scams seem to be common. You go to the mailbox, if it hasn't already been vandalized, and you get mail with a nice sounding job offer. You can become an accounts receivable manager. Put the enclosed check into your account, deduct a percentage as salary, and send the rest to the address furnished. Sounds good until the check you deposited turns out to be fraudulent. Remember, there is no free ride. If it sounds too good to be true, it is! Beware if the return address is in Africa. Some of the best scammers have their headquarters there.

Citizens who have been burglarized have learned the ordinary rock is a weapon of choice. Pick one off the ground and throw it through a house or car window. Awaiting the thief are DVDs, celll phones, computers, televisions or a Garmen navigational unit.

Courts and jails are overburdened with people who have no respect for the law or the rights of others. Diligent citizens trying to protect their homes and property have had to install security systems, build fences, buy guard dogs and establish neighborhood watch programs.

Without schools and parents teaching conduct norms and the proper behavior, and when children lack guidance, direction, supervision and discipline, crime continues and innocent people are victimized.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author, and law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.