Humm columnist Steve Scanlon shares the shock of experiencing a robbery after becoming small-town complacent:
I changed jobs recently and, shortly after I started, the business I was working for was broken into and robbed. I won’t go into detail — suffice to say money was stolen, police were called, and fingerprints taken. There is nothing funny about being robbed; it felt like a lead weight dropping in the pit of my stomach. It makes you realize that the world, at times, just plain sucks.
Now here’s the weird thing about being robbed. It took me completely by surprise. I didn’t see it coming and I wasn’t prepared for it. Twenty years ago I would have expected it. I still wouldn’t have liked it much, but I wouldn’t have been as gobsmacked as I was.
I live in the Village of Westport, but I grew up in Ottawa. When I was growing up, break-ins and robbery were as common as muck. You wouldn’t go a month without a house of somebody you knew being burgled, a car broken into or a bike stolen. It was just the way things were — you adjusted to it. Not being robbed seemed to be the exception. You prepared yourself for the inevitable: someday, somehow, somebody was going to take something of yours and keep it. You did what you could to prevent this from happening — locked doors and windows, chained bikes to posts, locked cars — but eventually, despite all the precautions, you were going to get robbed. Ottawa wasn’t alone with this issue; pick any city in Canada and you’ll get the same thing. Some people are going to take advantage of you when you are vulnerable. In a city, it’s a question of odds — more people, higher odds.