Mayor Baker, would you care to read this and then tell me that again?
So, as many of you know, I live in Bartlett Park which, as Mayor Baker has said, doesn’t have a crime problem. Crime, the good Mayor insists with all the passion of a politician with his eye on a higher office or perhaps a board appointment, is DOWN in St. Petersburg.
And now I would like to quote Gulfport Police Chief Curt Willocks: “Crime rate doesn’t matter if you’re the victim.”
ANXIETY ALERT: Mother, please don’t read this!
I fell asleep at a friend’s house last night. At about 3 am, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number so I didn’t pick up, but they left a voice message. It was my alarm company, Pinnacle Security, and they told me I had an alarm at my house and they needed me to call them.
Of course, that’s when my phone lost its signal. But I had two numbers on file with the company- Shelly and Tom- and when they couldn’t reach me, they started calling my emergency numbers. I answered and told them that I was NOT at home, it was NOT a false alarm, and they needed to send the police. They already had (my alarm has an intercom system, and when I didn’t answer that they dispatched the police), so I told them I was on my way home.
When I got there the police were already there, checking everything out. I unlocked my door and they went in. No one had been inside, and when I went in and checked nothing was stolen. But my bedroom window was smashed in. The police figure that the person or persons smashed the window, heard the alarm, and took off. A little broken glass and a few hours spent boarding up a window and I was back to sleep. I am so impressed that the alarm company did exactly what they promised and it actually prevented a larger crime. The alarm paid for itself several times over last night, and if you live in the southside (or near the southside) and are reading this, I encourage you to get an alarm system today. My day would have been wildly worse today had I not done that a few months ago.
Bartlett Park has also developed a great e-mail network, so while the crime scene techs dusted for prints and I wondered if this was REALLY my life, I let my neighbors know (via e-mail) what was going on. I am touched by the e-mails and phone calls I received today offering support and I wonder how many other neighborhoods have such a network. I mean, what happened wasn’t a big deal (I and my animals are unharmed and nothing was stolen), but it’s nice to know that other people in your neighborhood will watch out for you, and it’s nice for them to know what kinds of crime are in the top ten this week. A neighboring crime watch e-mailed my e-mail to many and reminded them to lock their doors and check their alarms, a reminder we all need sometimes.
That alone won’t change things around here, and since I am apparently committed to the neighborhood, I’ll tell you what I think.
The officers indicated to me that the police could use a fully staffed force, something our Mayor insists we have and few southside residents believe.
So I implore my city again: Could we PLEASE admit we have a crime problem in St. Pete and add a few officers? Help the ones on the street out, please. They’re doing a good job but they could do it so much better with more officers.Of course, that would mean admitting a crime problem actually exists, and apparently our Mayor is wont to do that.
And, FYI- the police say that the criminals probably smashed the window with a sock-covered hand, and they said in many cases people are so blatant that they walk down the street with socks on their hands. So if you see a sock-handed person sauntering down your street, call the cops.
After all, they need all the help they can get. God knows our Mayor doesn’t give a rat’s red ass about helping keep our neighborhoods safe.
Go ahead, prove me wrong, Mayor Baker. I triple dog dare you.