LETTER: Burglars need more than 'slaps on the hand'

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Recently we were robbed. Not once, not twice, but three times. The perpetrator? Oh, it was the same person all three times. Now, I can go on and on about how I’ve lost things that can never be replaced; how I’ve spent hundreds of dollars for safes and security systems and cameras and new locks; that I’m afraid to walk into my own home; that I lock all the doors behind me even if I’m home; that every noise makes me jump; and that I’m mad, hurt, scared etc. All of that goes without saying.

I am more concerned with how we stop this from happening to the next person. I don’t believe a slap on the hand and constantly being set free is the answer. I don’t have children, so I can’t pretend that I know how difficult it is to be a parent these days. My heart goes out to all parents who are struggling with raising a family. But I am an aunt, and a godmother, and a friend, and a neighbor to many children in my life.

I know that the world is different today than it was when I was growing up. Respect for your elders and accountability for your actions are no longer the norm. Time out is in, and a good kick in the butt is out. But nothing is going to change, and things are certainly going to get worse, if we don’t start holding these kids responsible and accountable for the crimes they are committing.

Often you hear about a certain judge that no one wants to appear before, or a certain law enforcement official that no one wants to get caught by. But the fear can’t stop at the reputation of one judge or one law enforcer. It needs to be the reputation of this entire county.
Attorneys need to cringe when they hear they need to defend a client in Spencer County. The reputation needs to be “you don’t want to mess up in Spencer County because they will fry your a--.” That can’t happen if we keep giving slaps on the hand with only a warning and a scolding. It’s obviously not working.

I understand that our jails are overcrowded and I understand that the courts are flooded with cases. However, I don’t understand how we can overlook or dismiss or have no concern that loaded guns are being stolen, drugs are everywhere, and that innocent people are being violated and their valuables stolen. I don’t understand why we keep letting them go.

What kind of message are we sending? We’re sending a message to lawbreakers that you might get caught, but not to worry because nothing will happen. We’re sending a message to the victims that we’re sorry, but nothing will be done. This feeling of helplessness only causes people to take matters into their own hands, which we know can only result in harm, danger and disaster.

Now I’m not so naïve as to believe that putting this one perpetrator in prison will stop all the crime in Taylorsville, nor do I believe he is responsible for all the recent robberies and break-ins that have taken place over the past few months. But at least it’s an attempt and a start to stopping the many more just like him out there roaming our town and county.

If you see something, please say something. I urge you, parents, to please ask questions. You don’t realize how the smallest of things can lead to the missing piece of the puzzle. If you’ve recently been a victim, I’m sure you share the same concerns as me. If you’ve not been a victim, and if things don’t change soon, I guarantee you will be sitting in my shoes one day saying “Recently we were robbed…”

Trish Smith
Elk Creek