Caroline was never comfortable leaving her elderly mother at her home alone. Yet Deloris had chosen to live on her own for the past 14 years after her husband, Caroline’s father, had passed away. As she grew older and more dependent on others, Deloris’ neighborhood began to change for the worst. She never thought that home security was so important in her neighborhood until one evening when her feeling of safety changed forever.
Deloris and Caroline’s father raised their family in the house. Originally built in 1945, the home was located close to downtown, before the suburbs had really taken off. In fact, in 1945, living five minutes from downtown was considered suburban living. Over time, the city grew around the quiet neighborhood. Deloris never took much notice of the degree of change occurring in her neighborhood. The change was gradual but the difference was stark.
Most of the wealthy homeowners had left the area over 20 years prior. It’s a phenomena commonly referred to as “white flight,” and it refers to the movement of established white families fleeing urban living for a slower, safer lifestyle in the suburbs. It is a misnomer, since many black families as well as other families with minority heritage make the move as well. However, predominantly, the flight is made up of white middle-class families.
Deloris chose to stay. Her children had moved to other cities long ago. Caroline and her family stayed close, but still were over 40 minutes away. She also still had a couple of friends who lived in the area. Up until three years ago, when she suffered from a bad fall, Deloris would drive to her friends’ home to play cards or drink tea. For the past three years, however, Deloris led a fairly secluded lifestyle. In the process, she failed to notice exactly how much her neighborhood was changing.
Yards were rarely kept up. The corner shops nearby had closed. The small grocer on the corner had failed to keep up with the large grocery chains. Even the churches had closed their doors. Deloris had her friend pick her up every Sunday to drive her over 20 minutes to church since her church was one of the ones that moved. The streets maintained a sense of safety, but the surrounding area was home to crime and drug use.
Caroline had talked with her mother several times since her fall about upgrading her home security system. Deloris already had a home alarm but she rarely set it, if ever. She had good doors, but she hardly ever locked them during the day when she was home. She had motion-detected floodlights over her garage and backyard, but rarely had the bulbs replaced. It worried Caroline that Deloris was alone and didn’t seem to think twice about taking common home security measures.
Then, one evening, while Deloris was watching television in her living room, her home was broken into. She didn’t notice or hear anything at first, but after the robber had managed to wiggle himself into her bedroom window and cause the bedside lamp to fall to the ground she realized that someone was in her home. She didn’t know exactly where the noise came from so she got up and ran out the front door. She was confused and scared, but knew that she needed to find someone to help her. She made it over to her neighbor’s home and from there the police were called.
Caroline and Deloris had a long conversation afterwards and decided that if Deloris wanted to continue living in her home of over 60 years, then she would need to start using the home security system that she had. She would need to have the light bulbs replaced over the garage and in the backyard and she would need to be more vigilant about locking doors. Deloris agreed without question, having been scared by the occurrence. From then on, Deloris took more interest in the security of herself and her home.
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