Thursday, December 5, 2019

Who is Safe?

The Columbia Association recently shared an article from Patch which begins:

COLUMBIA, MD — For the second year in a row, Columbia has been named the "Safest City in America" by the personal financial website WalletHub.

The article describes how WalletHub arrived at this designation, in case you are interested. As I’ve said in the past, I’m never quite sure how scientific these kinds of awards are. But of course it’s nice to win things. And it’s a great feeling to see our community highlighted in this way.

You won’t be surprised that this announcement brought some folks out of the woodwork decrying the notion that Columbia is a safe place to live. Social media invites response. One particular comment got me thinking:

It depends on how you define the word safest.  I don’t go to Columbia at night unless I’m with a group.

Here we have someone who lives in a part of Howard County that is not Columbia describing it the way I have seen people talk about going into Baltimore City. Is there any basis in fact for that kind of wholesale “Downtown” avoidance? Is “the county” so much safer than Columbia proper?

On the same page where I saw the comment about Columbia, I also read a conversation that centered on a fear of neighborhood crime. The poster described being in a locked house with an alarm system and indoor cameras. She was wishing she had outdoor cameras, too. She had seen something suspicious. What should she do?

Both of these posts came from areas of affluence in Howard County. But I wonder how one could suggest that they are objectively safer if we have people sitting in locked houses with alarm systems and cameras who don’t think they have enough security and wonder if they should call the police? That doesn’t feel safe to me. If that’s what it takes to live in that neighborhood, my neighborhood in Columbia is clearly a much safer place to be.

Back to the original poster:

It depends on how you define the word safest.  I don’t go to Columbia at night unless I’m with a group.

My response:

I live in Columbia and have felt safe here for twenty years. But I love the idea of your coming with a group, because: the more, the merrier. Enjoy!

Come on down, Howard County. Bring your friends. Come out to concerts at the James Rouse Auditorium, plays and other events at Howard Communty College. Enjoy dinner and performances at the Soundry. Walk through the Ice and Fire Festival with your family. Go to the WBAL Concert for Kids at Oakland Mills High School this Saturday night. 

Columbia has so much to offer and it’s fine if you don’t want to come by yourself. There’s room for everyone to enjoy our downtown. 

Don’t sit behind locked doors and wonder if you should call the police. What kind of life is that?


Ice and Fire Festival Advent Calendar

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