Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Have a neighborly attitude; be alert enough to save lives

5/13/2013

The past week’s tragic quadruple homicide in Franklin County is a strong reminder of the importance of knowing your neighbors and their routines, as well as caring enough to report suspicious activities. While such actions might not have prevented the deaths of Kaylie and Lana Bailey, Andrew Stout and Steven White, they might have helped alert law enforcement to the situation quicker and expedited apprehension of the suspect.

Similarly, three girls who were kidnapped and then held captive in a Cleveland home within close proximity to their families is yet another reminder of the importance of recognizing something out of the ordinary in a neighborhood and then caring to report it.

The past week’s tragic quadruple homicide in Franklin County is a strong reminder of the importance of knowing your neighbors and their routines, as well as caring enough to report suspicious activities. While such actions might not have prevented the deaths of Kaylie and Lana Bailey, Andrew Stout and Steven White, they might have helped alert law enforcement to the situation quicker and expedited apprehension of the suspect.

Similarly, three girls who were kidnapped and then held captive in a Cleveland home within close proximity to their families is yet another reminder of the importance of recognizing something out of the ordinary in a neighborhood and then caring to report it.

Franklin, Osage and Lyon counties were overrun the past week by law enforcement officers from across the state. Hopefully their efforts yielded the evidence needed to convict the person guilty of the horrific crimes.

Some rural areas in Franklin County have substantial separations between one neighbor and the next, but that distance still shouldn’t prevent people from paying attention to their neighbors and providing their own informal neighborhood watch. Hearing a gunshot, no doubt, is more difficult in the country where those sounds are more common, but it still ought to garner the attention of neighbors. While there is a fine line between awareness and nosiness about our neighbors, a prudent level of concern wouldn’t be out of line. If only we could go back to the days when most homes had a porch, and those porches served as the catalyst for incoming and outgoing neighborly connections.

A new social media offering focuses on helping neighbors connect with each other so they can communicate and coordinate. Neighbors across the country are using the private online network to: “Track down a trustworthy babysitter, get the word out about a break-in, organize a neighborhood garage sale [and] ask for help finding a lost pet and plan for an emergency.” Those sound like items that could be done face-to-face too, or at least by telephone. Sadly, society today relies more heavily on online or other indirect methods to reach out to neighbors rather than facilitating actual conversations.

Many rural neighborhoods don’t have a majority of their residents online to facilitate such communication nor do they want to do so. Neighborliness might not be as common as it once was, but it should never subside to the point people don’t care about the well-being of those living nearby.

The public must be ever-vigilant and alert to what is going on around them, particularly in their own neighborhoods, and report anything that seems suspicious or unusual to law enforcement. Such proactive behavior could help forestall the onset of another tragedy — whether it be one similar to Franklin County’s recent quadruple homicide or the Cleveland kidnappings.

Together, we have the tools to prevent such heartaches.

 

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

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