html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: My property taxes pay for this?

Friday, February 03, 2006

My property taxes pay for this?

The other night I was walking home about nine-ish when a car going my way slowed. The driver checked me out and parked a little ahead of me so I would have to walk past him. Then he did it two more times. I checked to see if I knew him (Sacramento is a small town), but I didn’t. He had a round face and he didn’t have a menacing presence. Still, I wouldn’t say I was pleased with his attention. I especially didn’t like it when he parked across the street to watch me go into my empty house.

When I got in, I called the non-emergency police number. I told the dispatcher in a mild tone what happened. I said it wasn’t scary, but it was disconcerting. I was sortof hoping a cruiser would drive by to see if he was still there. I wouldn’t have cared if they had done nothing.

It could not have been five minutes later that two police cruisers showed up to check on me, any parked cars and my house. There was no one around and nothing for them to do, so they said they would do the occasional driveby for the rest of the night. Great. Thanks, officers.

I called my friend Chris to let tell him about it. I can’t think why I thought he would be interested. Chris cares about my well-being in lots of ways, but he has never shown the slightest interest in my physical safety. “Hey Chris! I’m going to go meet a boy from the Internet tonight! He lives in an isolated cabin and he is going to show me his ax collection!” “Sounds great. Hope you get some.” “Should I call to let you know I get home safely?” “No… why would you do that?”

Chris was interested in my story though. He was particularly interested in the part about the two police cruisers at my house within five minutes. Turns out he was waiting on the police himself. He had called them two hours ago, to report a woman getting beaten up on the street in front of his house. He had called the real emergency number, where the dispatcher told him that they “don’t really come out for those sorts of things”. Chris told her that the police are supposed to respond to exactly those sorts of things, but she was right. They never did show up.

I think the dispatcher just forgot to say the most important part out loud. She probably finished her sentence silently, in her head: the police “don’t really come out for those sorts of things…in your neighborhood.” I’m sure they were far too busy to respond to a woman getting kicked in the stomach on Chris’s street. They were on standby, preparing to react instantly, getting ready to send two cruisers to my house because someone looked at me.


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