Guest Column

July 16, 2012

Behavior can make you vulnerable to crime

Crime and intruders have been on my mind recently. 

The recent robberies of NBT Bank and Walgreens in Plattsburgh are very unusual here. It is rare that we have crimes of violence by strangers. Most often, crime is committed by people who know their victims and even say they love them. Child sexual abuse and domestic violence are what we typically see. Exceptions are thefts from our cars and homes. 

As I learned from a racoon in our camp last week, being alert and taking simple precautions can greatly reduce the likelihood of being victimized. First, the racoon used the cat door to come in; we closed it, and the next night he quickly saw that we left the kitchen window open, with a loose screen that he easily pushed out. A human with the same intention could just as easily gain access.


Our communities are not dangerous, but they are not crime-free. We feel safe in the North Country. However, sometimes our behavior makes us vulnerable. Drug abuse is everywhere and more common than we like to think. Some drug users steal whatever they can to buy drugs. An unlocked parked car is an easy mark, even if it is in your own driveway. People looking for money or items to sell try one car after another, going through any that are unlocked.

It does not take long for them to be successful, as many people keep valuables in their cars and then leave them unlocked. As judge, I learned about the missing property when someone was arrested for stealing it. A defendant caught going through someone’s car often also had stolen property from other vehicles. It might be change left in the console, a GPS unit or an iPod. I’ve also seen many cases where checkbooks were kept in the glove compartment and were stolen then the checks forged. Some people keep even more valuable items in their vehicles, like a passport or a handgun. When these are stolen, it has a huge impact.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Guest Column
  • clute_cropped.jpg Finding accountability, healing

    Today, I focus on the vast majority of cases that do not go to trial but end in a guilty plea, writes former District Attorney and City Judge Penny Clute.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • krieg_felicia_mug.jpg Affordable doesn't mean low quality

    Drugstore products often perform just as well as their high-end counterparts, Felicia Krieg writes.

    July 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • paul_grasso.jpg Opportunity to repair infrastructure missed

    A vibrant economy requires roads, bridges, dams and other assets that are in good condition, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ken_wibecan.jpg Remembering the Sixties

    Each Memorial Day and Labor Day in the early 1960s, about a dozen of us city-dwellers drove to Lake George, writes columnist Ken Wibecan.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg The right to be forgotten?

    Europe taking first steps toward securing privacy with Google and Facebook, writes columnist Stu Denenberg.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Ethical consumerism in vogue

    However, making purchasing choices that can help save the planet aren't always that simple, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg U.S. lacking leadership

    Inspiration is hard to come by as society struggles to fulfill the traditional American dream, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for quality, safety, animal welfare

    June Dairy Month is a good time to appreciate all the effort that goes into producing the very best in dairy products, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Libraries still relevant

    In the digital age, it takes innovation and creativity to assure libraries stay a vital part of the community, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    June 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Trees at risk from pests

    The Emerald Ash Borer is a major threat to ash trees locally and across North America, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo