EDITORIAL: Focus on safety

We can't live in fear, but must be diligent with regard to safety, in light of assault on South Surrey senior.

We cannot live in fear – but we must be mindful of safety.

The recent case of a 70-year-old woman who was confronted – and then assaulted – by an intruder in her South Surrey home is a disturbing reminder that, while we should not allow ourselves to be paralyzed by anxiety, we need to exercise vigilance.

The woman in question has shown admirable courage and resilience following an ordeal that we wouldn’t wish on anyone.

No doubt the support of her husband and family – and the understanding and consideration of police, fire and medical personnel – have been vital to her determination to recover and move on from the horrific incident.

Her husband has also said that they are taking steps to increase security at their 28 Avenue home, acknowledging they were ‘complacent’ after eight years in the neighbourhood. In the past, he said, they didn’t even bother locking their doors.

Historically, anyone could be forgiven for such ‘complacence.’

Sickening intrusions into personal space are unimaginable for most Semiahmoo Peninsula residents. But while this has been – generally – considered a safe area, it’s evident that we can’t count on that any more.

It’s natural, too, that an incident of this kind triggers public anger. A lot of it, rightfully, is directed at the criminal who perpetrated this act. Some of it, inevitably, is directed at Surrey RCMP, who some residents feel haven’t been taking break-and-enter incidents in the area seriously enough.

It is also evident that police continue to operate with limited resources, particularly given the geographic area, and must prioritize their response to reported crimes.

Statistically – in spite of anomalies and periodic spikes – crime rates are generally dropping in Canada, although this information is likely scant comfort to anyone who has been victimized.

While we don’t need to feel like prisoners in our own homes, we do have a responsibility to ensure that we aren’t inadvertently contributing to ‘crimes of opportunity.’ It’s easy enough: lock doors and windows, take basic precautions to secure our homes and help police by reporting suspicious behaviour.

By planning for the anomaly, rather than the norm, we can go a long way to restoring confidence that our homes, and personal safety, are still sacrosanct.

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