My mother’s neighbor was raped yesterday. In a nice little subdivision in a busy neighborhood in relatively idyllic Orlando, the woman was sleeping in her locked home when a man smashed a window and attacked her. My mother, naturally, is completely freaked out. Mom, who is retired and lives alone, is an ardent member of Neighborhood Watch and writes the newsletter for the local home owner’s association. The woman attacked is her block captain and helped found the association. The suspect, who stole her car to make his getaway, is a white male in his 40’s.
My mother’s house has an alarm system which is never turned off. When I visit, I have to disarm the alarm just to retrieve laundry from her detached garage. My voice is on her answering machine so that callers think a man lives in the house. My brother-in-law, a huge athletic guy, is frequently there, which gives Mom some solace that anybody watching her might think a man might be inside. And yet we all worry. She lives in a little cottage on a corner lot with lots of windows. We worry.
We’ve encouraged Mom to consider moving into a high-rise condo, something with a doorman, something with limited access, but since the grandkids came on the scene, she won’t dream of giving up her backyard. And Mom just turned 67, so she is by no means feeble.
Orlando is in the throes of a controversial “tax reform” movement, much like the one that swept California years ago. With the expected reduction of revenues, Orlando will not be able to adequately fund their police department and the needed force increases for a city exploding in population will not occur. My mother justifiably fears that incidents like yesterday’s will only increase. But after years of devastating hurricanes, many home owners continue to face skyrocketing insurance policies and they seem willing to trade security for cash.
I don’t know what to do, except worry more.