Not the town I moved to

Sorry, this isn’t about running, maybe it’s a little about parenting. But I must put this out there.
Seven years ago, my family moved from the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee to be in almost heaven … West Virginia.
I think this is the longest I’ve stayed in a house. I moved around so much as a kids that, while I lived in many cities for a few years, I never lived in a place long enough to see it grow or decline.
But here, I’ve seen fields replaced by manicured dirt, which is covered with asphalt and buildings. I’ve seen the town grow so much that in the past, I chalked the lack of some services to the town being too small. Now, I wonder what’s taking so long for the services to come in.
When we moved here, my neighborhood was a blend of college students and families. The biggest nuisances were the big trucks on the street behind us, not being able to find parking and the neighbor’s dog that pooped in my backyard.
Change came slowly. Unsavory characters started moving in as families moved out. Properties once rented by slightly harmful college students were occupied by people whose antics sent the police to our street at least once a month.
We knew our neighborhood was declining. But we didn’t know how bad until this week.
A house got broken into. It wasn’t some person looking to get something quick and leave. They were organized and possibly armed.
One of them banged on the front door. When he didn’t get the response they wanted, they went to nearby houses and banged on their doors. Eventually they made it to the backyard and the basement. They broke through two doors barred shut with wooden boards.
The suspect who allegedly broke in was arrested. His friends got away. The next day, they were casing the house again.
The ones who got away live near the house that was broken into. I can see both buildings from my backyard.
As I talked with the victims a few hours after the incident, they were scared but more thankful that they were together to defend each other.
I took that thought home with me. I hugged my family more the next day. I reminded them how much I loved each of them.
I also bought a new lock for my front door (it needed it) and watched the passersby a bit more carefully.
It’s been about 24 hours since I heard the break-in unfold on the police scanner. I’m still tense, and I wasn’t even there. It wasn’t my house.
To the victim, I’m sorry. You just moved into the neighborhood and had such a bad experience. I swear, it isn’t/wasn’t always like this. It’s a great house that hasn’t had problems since I moved here. The neighbors are usually friendly.
While processing the crime scene, the police told the victims that once a house has a reputation, that’s how the house will always be known.
I want to believe that isn’t true. But I’m a living example of what the police said. It takes a long time and a lot of effort to change people’s perceptions.
The next post will be about running and parenting, I promise.

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