Community safety is getting a lot of press lately, as the seeming increase in random, horrific murders compete for national attention. On Christmas Eve two firemen were ambushed on the scene of a house fire. They arrived ready to risk their lives in the course of their daily commitment as first responders, and they died as victims of a targeted, senseless murder. The tiny community of Newtown, Connecticut expanded far beyond their borders, when a tortured, twisted youth murdered his mother at home, then broke into an elementary school and shot dozens of people. 26 died; 20 were children. The next night in Kansas City, a 4 year-old boy died from a random drive-by shooting outside his house. In tiny Mineral Point, Missouri, with a population of 351, officer Christopher Parsons was shot and killed, as he assisted with a 9-1-1 call for an unconscious woman.
In the same week, the Granite Falls Police Department responded to 16 crimes, including burglaries, theft, assault, vandalism, substance abuse, and more. Those were in addition to the dozens of other weekly ‘non crime’ calls and duties that take up an officer’s time.
Public safety goes far beyond trying to prevent the kind of random, senseless attacks of late. It’s about parents and grandparents taking their young children to Jim Holm Park to play on the swings and slides. It’s about our school kids and teachers being alert – but not frightened – when they enter their classrooms. It’s about people taking ownership for neighborhood and community safety.
The Granite Falls Police Department handles around 7800 calls per year, which is an astonishing number when you consider our population is under 3,500. But it’s not that we have more relative crime in Granite Falls than say, Marysville or Lake Stevens; instead we have a small community that keeps an eye out for each other. Most neighbors don’t hesitate to pick up the phone when they see or hear something amiss. Having lived in larger towns and cities, I guarantee most don’t have the sense of community we do. The stats also mean we have dedicated officers who ‘self initiate’ – they spot something suspicious and follow-up.
Granite Falls is a community with the same risks and challenges as anywhere else in America. We can’t guarantee our schools and neighborhoods will always be safe. But we do have a strong commitment to supporting our first responders – our firemen, paramedics, and police officers. As we enter 2013, the Pilchuck Foundation remains committed to support our public safety through our ‘We Pledge Our Support’ drive.
Please consider joining your neighbors in making a $10 a month pledge to assist the Granite Falls Police Department. You can click on the ‘Pledge Here’ tab above.
Have a happy – and safe – New Year.