Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's Wrong with Accountability?

Our neighborhood has a message board. It comes in handy when we have things we want to share with the neighbors like coordinating the annual rummage sale, school fundraisers, handyman recommendations and illegal activities that may go on or affect the neighborhood.
I find myself so frustrated with my neighbors whenever something bad happens in the subdivision. This morning I read a post about a neighbor who, by their own admission, left the garage door open and car unlocked, and had a GPS unit and CDs stolen out of their car overnight. They continue on to say they have filed a police report and that the police encouraged them to continue to report crimes or suspicious behaviors in the area. Great. I truly appreciate the heads-up on these types of things. Especially since I am home all day, I can be on the lookout. Another neighbor chimed in that they called another neighbor and told them to close their door because it was open and there were 2 kids who were hanging out in the area, going back and forth around the garage for at least an hour.
This is where I get so angry! Really? You watched these kids essentially case the joint and/or work up the courage to steal for an hour and didn't think to call the cops? To add more fuel to my fire, another neighbor responds to this by essentially ignoring the part about the kids and saying we all need to lock up. Sure. Let's lock up. Shouldn't we all want to know what these kids look like so we can be on the lookout? Oh no, we don't. That's right.
See, I live in a subdivision of ostriches. Everyone wants to bury their heads in the sand and not really see that it might be their own kids or their kid's friends doing these things. They just want to go half-way to solve the problems when the fact is this--holding people accountable works.
Last summer, our neighbors were in an uproar about speeders in the subdivision. I was in agreement. I told everyone that much of the problem was the high school crowd right after school. I went on to describe the cars of the 5 daily offenders that paraded past my house every weekday at 2:45pm. I suggested that the solution should be to give these car descriptions to the police officer at the high school so he could talk with them. You know what my neighbors wanted to do? They wanted everyone to sign a "promise" to the subdivision that they wouldn't speed. What?!? And when someone broke that promise what happens, we take away their birthday?
I went ahead and reported those cars. Guess what. They don't come speeding through here anymore. Accountability works.
In the fall, 2 middle school kids decided to play ding-dong-ditch at my house and waited outside with a camera to catch my reaction. When I turned the tables on them, took their picture and posted it on our message board, my neighbors had a fit! They said that I had no right to do this and that what they did was harmless. Some even threatened to call the police! I agree that ring and run is not a Federal offense, but just because it's harmless, doesn't make it right. Now, of course they didn't call because first of all, there was nothing to report and second of all, because no one can hold anyone accountable! But guess what? I haven't seen those 2 kids anywhere near our house again!
When my husband alerted the neighborhood about the kid who kept leaving 200ft burnouts on the road, people got mad that he "embarrassed" the kid and his family by doing this. So what! First of all, they should be embarrassed. Second, there haven't been any more tire tracks.
There are people out there making tons of money, trying to teach parents how to get their children to behave. It's all based on boundaries and accountability. It's not rocket science. Every action has consequences. Plain and simple.
My neighbors can continue to be ostriches and pretend they don't see what's going on, but I won't. I will continue to stand up and call people out if they are doing wrong. They actually might turn out okay if someone holds them accountable.

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