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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Opinion: High Crime Hurts Businesses


Crime scene | Image by carl ballou

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Are there places you do not hesitate to visit? Are there places you would tell someone, “You couldn’t get me to go there for all the money in the world?”

We, as people, have a built-in mechanism called ‘self-preservation’. How sensitive it is, is a matter of our genetics, education, upbringing, experiences, and our decision-making process.

Imagine for a moment you are walking along road next to a farm. You are wearing a bright red jump suit topped off by a bright red hat. A wind suddenly blows off your hat and you watch it sail across the barbed wire fence that separates you from the field in which several large bovines are grazing.

You need your hat. You paid good money for it. So, you must now decide if you are going to retrieve your hat by climbing over (or through) the fence to fetch it.

Most people are taught at a very young age, that the male bovine (a bull) is very likely to charge someone, especially if they are wearing the color red. So, the first thing you do is try to see if one of the bovines is a bull. If one is, you may re-think your solution of quickly jumping the fence to retrieve your hat. If all are cows, you might quickly go retrieve your hat.

People make these kinds of decisions all the time. They have to. The world is so fast paced that we don’t have time to analyze all decisions to near perfection. As I mentioned in one of my other pieces the average human makes 35,000 decisions a day! Now our risk tolerance come into play and if we are an overconfident youth, perhaps we don’t hesitate to jump over without much thought and try retrieve our hat. If, though we were somehow traumatized by a bull in our youth growing up on a farm, well, we decide we’re not jumping over, no matter what.

Our basic desire to avoid pain and stress, along with our self-preservation instinct guides us most of the time without taking much time to analyze the situation. Some people would call this common-sense.

It is this common-sense that can influence many decisions. So, let’s look at the situation where the location of a business is taken into account. A business located in an area that rarely has crime usually allows for many customers to frequent the area and the businesses can prosper. The location of the business is considered an asset. Unfortunately, a business located in a high crime area is likely to fail simply because the customer base is limited to those who are willing to risk a visit to the location.

It is imperative that high crime areas be focused on in our crime reduction efforts. By doing so, we are allowing the customers of those businesses, to feel safe. Which in turn causes businesses to do better as more customers will venture into the area once they are convinced it is a safe place to visit and shop.     

It is now more important than ever for business owners to work together with the City, to accelerate the reduction of crime in the areas suffering from high crime.

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