I was watching the news last week and there was a poll asking whether you feel safe in your neighbourhood. I’ve been thinking about that Sesame Street song for a little while now, but let’s not get carried away by that nostalgic melody.
I think most people are concerned about safety. I know I am. I grew up in a relatively small town and lived in what you might call a suburb. Most of the folks were working class, just like the ones you sang along to in that Sesame Street segment.
One of my distinct memories about living in my area was that when I was in primary school, the PTA had decided to form a Neighbourhood Watch to curb some of the burglaries that had become a problem. They alternated shifts and Mr. Powell who had a fabulous black pickup was kind enough to lend his vehicle for this cause. The parents, teachers and the local police station in my area banded together to protect the neighbourhood. Thinking about this gives me great a sense of pride. It’s funny how we don’t realize how lucky we are and how we can take things for granted.
I’ve wondered if the Neighbourhood Watch is something that can be implemented in some of our communities in this city. Maybe it’s an idyllic ambition from someone who lived in a small town that didn’t have a concerning crime rate. Maybe times are too difficult and parents and teachers are too stressed and politics will get in the way of allowing police officials to participate in community concerns.
I don’t know many of my neighbours, not by name anyway. The one on the left greets me everytime she sees me. The European lady opposite makes small talk but her husband and son avoid eye contact. The young couple down the hall’s daughter and I finally exchanged words a few months ago after a couple of years of awkward silences in the elevator. The rest keep to themselves.
I think we can learn something from the Occupy Movements. Like it or not, most of us are the 99% whether it’s the safety of our neighbourhoods or the security of our futures, we have to realize we’re in this together.