Recently I created a post called “Music to my Ears” wherein I discussed the sights and sounds we hear living in the city. The piece explained how we are used to the chorus of sounds we hear each day and have come to find many of the different sounds to be quite therapeutic. There was also mention of our building’s concrete walls and how they act as very effective sound barriers. That is why on one evening last week, we were not initially concerned to hear an unfamiliar sound.
It was later in the evening and we were all busy with an activity. My husband was putting Little S to bed, and I was talking on the phone. When we heard the unusual sound we continued with our task at hand. When our daughter asked what it was that she had just heard, my husband came up with a quick guess. The bedtime routine is very fragile at best and I am sure all parents can appreciate that any extra distractions can be disastrous. He offered the explanation that it was nothing more than a loud car. This answer seemed to satisfy her and our evening continued, uneventfully.
The next day while catching up on the latest news, I became aware of what took place the prior evening. The sound we heard was actually three gunshots. I learned that, thankfully, no one was injured but I did feel a little rattled to find out that what we had heard that night was something so serious and so close to home. The locale of the incident was not very far from us and it would not have been unusual for my husband to be in that area at that time grabbing something from one of the stores. This caused me to reflect a little.
My first reaction was something along the lines of an assumption that because we had moved to the city we were inadvertently exposing ourselves to more crime. I think this is a general assumption of the masses; city = crime. With this comes the usual worry every parent has when it comes to their children. Is my child safe? Is this a safe place for my child to grow up, etc.?
I didn’t take me long during this tornado of thoughts to remember that when we lived in our quiet little suburb, there was a grow-op bust a mere ten doors down from us. Police tape, news cameras, the whole nine yards. And that was in a nice, middle-class neighbourhood. My three stolen cars came to mind as well from back in the day when I lived in the North-West part of London. I was left with the knowledge that unfortunately, it doesn’t matter where you choose to live; crime finds its way into the richest of rich neighbourhoods, the poorest of the poor and the nicest of nice places to live. This is a reality in our world and always has been.
Statistically speaking, Ontario actually has the lowest overall crime rate of all the provinces in Canada. And crime overall in Canada fell roughly 5% in the last few years. I am no statistics wiz and I’ll admit that I really don’t know much about this topic, but I do know that the more people who live in a given place, the higher the volume of crime there will be. This just makes sense. This is why we would see a higher incidence of crime in a city like Toronto than we would here in London. How do stats like this affect the decisions of families on where to set up shop, where to make a home? Are there parts of London (or your respective city) that you would choose not to live? And how knowledgeable are we? Have we done the research or are we making decisions based on assumptions and generalizations?
I leave you with this question: what type of neighbour-’hood’ do you live in? Has the presence or probability of crime affected your decision on where to live? Why have you chosen to live where you live?
I am left with the feeling summarized above. We can’t hide from crime but we can do our best to make smart decisions and teach little S to make intelligent choices. There is nothing that says we are safer in any particular neighbourhood than another. So for now my ‘hood’ will remain my happy place!