Graphs and charts are used all of the time. Information is collected and collated and plotted out and presented in a way that makes the speakers point immediately clear. We did various graphs and charts in math class at school too. All of those X and Y axis's and intersecting grids. Makes me shudder to remember. I wasn't very good at it.
But while I understand research and I appreciate a good visual statement, I also still have a couple of active brain cells left so I know that numbers can be manipulated to indicate whatever it is that the presenter intends to be known. I do know that. And still, I was tickled to read in the newspaper on Saturday, that Venice, my city, was rated second best place to live in Florida by ChamberofCommerce.org. (In case you are curious, Palm Beach Gardens was number one.) And in fact, they went so far as to call Venice an, "'idyllic town". Why, that is downright adorable!~
Of course, I agree with most anything nice said about the town Tim and I have chosen to live in. We did choose it for a reason after all. But I was dismayed to see a different article on the same page claiming that, "Crime is up in Venice" for the years 2017 and 2018!!!! What? Crime in my beautiful, "idyllic" paradise? That is more than a little dismaying.
Naturally I read on. Of course I did. Wouldn't you? Tacky of me I know. But, I can't deny it. We all do it. It's the same reason that we read the headlines on those stupid trash magazines at the checkout stand or make it a point to look at a car crash as we drive by. Something deep down inside of us wants to know the ugly truths.
Well this particular ugly truth, as I read the article got very specific. This wasn't just some number manipulated graph or chart. The author of the article names names. Well, he named crimes. Specific crimes. Not just "tier one crimes" but very precisely spelled out criminal activity. Like for instance the big one, Murder.
As it turns out the murder number has remained the same in my precious little Venice. (Not just the island of course, the article is speaking of the entire town). No, the number of murders in Venice hasn't changed. It has stayed level at zero. Yup. Anyone who died in Venice for the past two years passed via accident or just nature taking it's course. Nobody killed anybody. Whew! That is a relief. Good to know.
Robberies however, that's a different story. Robberies went up by 100%. Holy cats! The number used to be 1. Now it's 2. Two entire robberies in my sweet little Venice. Heartbreaking news. Well it is sad. Anytime someone is robbed, it's a darned shame. But still, I don't see this as being the sign of a major crime spree.
Aggravated assaults are down as are burglaries. (assaults down from 23 to 22 and burglaries went from 44 to 38). In case you are not aware of the difference: Burglary involves a person illegally entering a building in order to commit a crime while inside; robbery is generally when someone takes something of value directly from another person by the use of force or fear. So there you are. It should never happen but sadly it does. Still it's nice to know that it's happened less often.
So with all of these numbers going down or staying the same, what st up with that headline stating that Crime is Up in Venice? What's crime is on the rise?
Are your ready for this? Bicycle Theft. Yup, bicycle theft is up a whopping 44%! That is insane. Who knew that this little paradise was such a hotbed of bicycle crime? Not me!
It's true that there are a ton of bicyclers here. On any day of the year you can expect to see scads of folks out bicycling around here, there and everywhere. They bike to the beach, to the store, to the restaurants and sometimes just circling around. People of all ages and abilities, whether they live here full time, part time or are just visiting, heed the call of pedals and wheels.
There are bike racks everywhere you might care to stop, there are bike repair stations, bike stores, a business that will deliver rented bicycles to you, bike races of all sorts, bicycle events and there are specifically designated bike trails. Suffice it to say, we got bikes .
So I suppose the opportunity is there. And how very simple and easy for a thief to jump on an unattended and unlocked bike and just pedal away. In seconds they are gone. I don't know if there is some bike theft ring operating out of Venice Florida or if it's just a crime of convenience. I'm not sure anyone else knows either.
The biggest part of the problem of course is that people tend to leave their bikes unlocked. I have noticed this myself, usually when I'm locking my own bike and I see that almost none of the other bikes in the rack are properly secured. I shake my head and go on my merry way. Being an honest person, it would never for a second dawn on me to take something that didn't belong to me. But clearly it is occurring to someone. Or perhaps a lot of someones.
I get it. People are on vacation in this beautiful place that truly does feel like paradise. It feels safe here, it does. So it never dawns on any of them that anything remotely bad could possibly happen to them here in this beautiful place. So they just don't go to the, apparently, extreme bother, of locking their bike. Which would, in my guessitmation at least cut down on the bike thefts.
My Nana used to say that the purpose of a lock was to keep honest people honest. And I suppose that is true. If a thief really really really wants to steal a particular bicycle, they probably have bolt cutters close at hand. Quick work to cut the lock off and either ride the bike away to relative safety or load it into a pick up truck and drive off. But a lock would at least slow them down. Whereas, a kid up to mischief seeing an unlocked bike and driving it away would be not just slowed down but completely deterred from their prank by the simplicity of a lock.
Do you remember this old story? For the want of a nail a shoe was lost. For the want of a shoe, a horse was lost. For the want of the horse, a knight was lost. For the want of the knight, a battle was lost and for the want of a battle the war was lost. All from the lack of a nail.
Same goes, just a bike lock and not a horse shoe nail.
There is such a simple solution here. People, lock your bikes! Let's turn around that ugly crime statistic...that one smear on our reputation.... We won't keep our standing as the #2 place to live in the entire state if this secret gets out. And this is solvable. Easily solvable. In this case, it really is up to you. Bike? Lock!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.