Let’s talk about a neighborhood watch. When I was very young and living in South Boston (in the projects,) there was a real Neighborhood Watch, meaning, if you were a stranger and wandered into one of the numerous courtyards, you were watched like a hawk. Everybody knew who belonged and who did not. If you were clueless enough to go into these courtyards where you didn’t belong, you would be confronted by the most feared people on earth, mothers watching over their children.
Back then, I remember each mom watching the courtyard while the others were doing chores and whatever else would take their attention, building a feeling of trust and safety within the neighborhood.
After growing up and moving, I found that this kind of neighborhood was gone for the most part. People didn’t really get involved with neighbors, there was no real unity. It’s unfortunate that people only come together when there is a major problem or the lights go out or a wicked big storm. In addition, when it’s all back to normal, people seem to retreat back into their own worlds. I have lived in some major cities, such as Boston, Detroit, Brockton and Dorchester, Massachusetts, and it seems this feeling of “mind your own business” is everyone’s mantra. I’m not suggesting people need to know your business, but people should be neighborly. It’s a good feeling when you know that when you are away, people would be looking out for you without being asked.
My wife and I have lived in Athens AL going on three years, and to this day I say to her this place is amazing. People really ask you how you’re doing and mean it, they are willing to lend a hand even if you’re a stranger. Our neighbors worry if they see that our cars have not moved in a day or two. They will come over just to check. This is a great way to live, this is a Neighborhood Watch.
Now that the holidays are near, it is nice to see the square all gussied up for each holiday, and to realize that anything used as decorations is left alone so that everyone can enjoy it. Some of you have never lived in a city where you have to lock your doors, worry about decorations you may put in the yard being stolen, and being vigilant about your safety. This small town feeling needs to be protected, and the only way is to care, be neighborly, and look out for each other.
As far as the Police and Sheriff’s Departments, they are the most responsive agencies I have ever seen! They are very approachable, and really do what they say, “protect and serve.” I have had dealings with both departments and have nothing but praise. Athens should be proud. But as I always say, they can’t do it all, so it’s our city and our homes too. We need to speak up and report anything out of the ordinary so that the Police/Sheriff Departments can do their jobs.
Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!
By: Jim Doyle, owner of Madison Security Group