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Something is definitely amiss

Editorial

 


People at last week’s Coulee Dam Town Council meeting speaking up about local crime were stating out loud what we’re all feeling: the community is not as safe as it once was.

There have been times in the last three decades when petty crimes spiked in the local area, only to recede after one or two arrests. This may be different. It feels different.

In the past, the local petty crime rate would rise and fall depending on which thief just got out of jail. Police knew where to find him or her, and it was only a matter of time before the repeat offender was caught again. Now it seems to be a matter of more time, for more of them. This week’s Coulee Cops column contains 16 reports of property crimes, an astounding number.

One person recently remarked that we need to do something before people start getting hurt, an ominous comment that could be taken to either have the welfare of the innocent in mind, or the safety of a whole community in which, feeling unsafe, some citizens decide to take matters into it their own hands.

That consequence could lead to some OK creative solutions, but it can also lead to brutish behavior gaining acceptance in a community that feels it can no longer depend on what Hobbs called the “leviathan,” that political creature to which we each surrender power for our mutual protection — our government, our police who alone have the legitimate power of arrest.

We’re a very long way from anarchy, of course, but it is interesting and a little unnerving to see it peak its head above the distant horizon of a small community that not long ago could spot a newcomer as the one who locked his car door before going into the grocery store.

Scott Hunter

editor and publisher

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