Personal vigilance

Published 10:18 pm Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It has been said that change is the only thing that’s constant.

There can hardly be a place in Virginia where that old saying holds truer than right here in Suffolk. As one of the commonwealth’s fastest-growing cities, Suffolk experiences at least its share of growing pains. Increasing traffic, crowded schools and the conversion of farmland to residential, business and industrial uses are among the more painful attributes of this growing city.

Another uncomfortable fact of life in a growing city is the lost sense of security that transpires when the character of neighborhoods changes. There was a time not all that long ago when folks in much of the city could leave their homes without locking their doors. Today, home security systems are a burgeoning industry in Suffolk, to such a degree that the city was forced to institute fines for some false alarms.

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There was also a time not all that long ago when people felt comfortable leaving their cars unlocked at night — or even leaving their keys in their cars. But recent events should make it clear that those days are now gone. A string of thefts from cars in a neighborhood off Bennett’s Pasture Road is just the most recent example of how times have changed.

Folks in the Nansemond Shores community, along with people living in the Orlando area east of downtown awoke on Monday to find many of their cars had been rifled through during the night, with items such as CDs, cash, purses, wallets and other things gone. One woman found the Bible she kept in her car had been stolen and then dropped in a neighbor’s yard by the fleeing thieves.

It is easy to lament the loss of security represented by the thefts and pine for days gone by, when such things were largely unknown to sleepy little Suffolk. But wishing things were different will not make them so.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to protect your valuables from these thieves. Lock your doors. Don’t leave keys in the car. Keep valuables out of sight. Alert police if you see suspicious activities taking place in your neighborhood.

Suffolk continues to change in many wonderful and exciting ways. A little bit of personal vigilance can help its residents — whether natives or come-heres — continue to enjoy this fine city in the midst of those changes.