Recently, I checked into the neighborhood Facebook page and it was all abuzz as an organized group of thieves had gone through our suburb and a few others one night and systematically robbed every car. Since the entire American population has voluntarily put itself under mass surveillance in the past few years (a fact which will never stop being astonishing to me), their progress through the subdivisions was fully documented via a series of Ring doorbells and other security footage, so I imagine they will be apprehended soon.

They were three teenagers, one driving, the other two checking the cars. When I first read this, I thought, what a colossal waste of time given that no one leaves valuables in their cars.

Then I read on and…apparently everyone leaves valuables in their cars! These kids got cash, a hunting rifle, and other things. In the end, they stole a lady’s Subaru, which was recovered the next day unharmed in San Antonio. It tickles me a bit that they ultimately stole…a Subaru. Dream big!

I will never stop being baffled by the attitude of suburbanites toward risk and crime. Everyone has bunkers full of guns at the ready and $200/month security contracts for the home invasion they’re all completely convinced is coming any minute, but yet, they leave cash in their unlocked cars in the driveway?

I did note that there were no comments about shooting these kids (usually all the men start posturing about how ready they are to put a bullet in someone at any passing mention of slightly suspicious behavior) and frankly, I suspect this was because these particular kids were white.

My car wasn’t bothered; probably because I lock it, or maybe because it’s a Civic. Anyway, there’s nothing in it.

I know well-off liberals have a reputation (sometimes deserved, really) for being cavalier and dismissive about property crimes, so I don’t mean to imply that this wasn’t a big deal, or that it shouldn’t be treated seriously. It was and it should. But at the same time — so these kids go to jail, they spend however long there both being abused by and learning from probably more experienced criminals and increasing their tolerance for risk, and when they get out, they have trauma, possibly addiction, and a record, which means they have nothing to lose and very little opportunity to make a meaningful income legally, and probably not much support at all reintegrating into society. So basically we take a potentially dangerous person, and then we do everything we can to ensure they become a fully dangerous person. Then everybody waits until they commit a more serious crime, so they get put back in. Meanwhile, there are additional victims.

I think everyone ought to agree that’s not a great system, but I guess we won’t be able to seriously consider any alternatives. Meanwhile, there is a shitload of money to be made off of suburban paranoia and fear. Everybody who didn’t have a camera says they are getting one now; the Facebook page is full of recommendations.

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