Better change the channel on that emotion.
As expected, when the economy takes a dip, the tweakers start burgling more. There's a group around here that's been kicking in doors of apparently unoccupied houses, to take what they can grab. The other day a member of this group hit a house just outside of our city limits. The lady of the house was actually at home at mid day, and frantically dialed 911 when she heard the miscreant trying to kick in her door. She screamed for the county to send her a deputy, but they were running a bit slow. The dispatcher never thought to send my department, which would have had a probable response time of less than 90 seconds, given the location of the house and our on-duty officers. Too bad.
The lady of the house heard the kicking go on and on. And on. And on. She became frantic. She says that it took 4 minutes, but I'll bet it was 2 or less. Time really distorts in those moments. She could see the attempted burglar through the window. Suddenly, he saw her as well. He ran. As he started to get into his white pickup that he had backed up to her front door, he looked back toward her before driving away quickly.
This morning, she called me at the P.D., begging me to do a close patrol. She had left with her husband that morning to go somewhere, and had seen a white pickup drive past. She was scared that they were coming back.
I told her that I would check on it immediately, and did so. Nothing to be seen. In the new frost, I could see that no one had walked around the house. No tire tracks in the neatly-trimmed yard. I returned to the P.D. and called her back.
I reported that her house was safe. I also remarked that, in the two minute drive there, I had passed no less than six white pickup trucks, it being the morning commute time for many laborers in Texas. I gently explained that her attempted burglar had driven the single most commonly seen vehicle on N. Texas roads. White is the default fleet vehicle color, and pickups are ubiquitous around here. "You're going to have to inure yourself to the sight of them passing your house," I said.
I took a breath, and soldiered on. "Look, you feel violated, and I get that. I really do. I've been there. It's really upsetting. You're scared, and you don't feel safe in the place that was your haven," I began.
"I don't even come and go without an escort, now, and I don't feel safe when I'm at home," she said.
"Right. Being where you were terrified, when you had thought that you were safe there, does that to you," I said. "But are you willing to hear some good news?"
"You caught him?" she said, gushing hopefully.
"No. Realistically, I don't know that we will. We will try. We are not without leads. But here's the good news: You're less likely NOW to have your home targeted than you were two weeks ago."
"How can you possibly believe that, after this?" she asked.
"Well, aside from my degree and three-quarters in the field, I've got a little experience in this stuff," I began. "Let me ask you: What did he do when he found out that you were home?"
"He left," she said simply.
"Did he yell at you? Threaten you? Anything like that?"
"No. He just left," she said.
"Exactly. This guy wants your stuff. He doesn't want to hurt you. He does daytime burglaries because they're low-confrontation. He's probably on drugs, and just wants to sell your stuff cheap to buy more drugs. The last thing he wants to do is come back to your place again. In his mind, the last time he went there, he almost got caught or shot. That's why he looked back," I said.
"The deputy said that he was looking back to see if I was coming after him," she said.
"Sure. He was also looking to see if you were going to shoot him," I said.
"But I didn't have a gun," she said, weakly.
"No, but most Texans do, and you were benefitting from his realization of that," I said, perhaps planting a thought in her head for later. "Here's the thing: at that moment, he was likely more afraid of you than you are of him."
Silence. She was pondering that.
I forged on. "You've had time to prepare for his return, and he knows that. He and his friends you can be sure will NOT return to that residence. Too risky. They will move on."
"But that doesn't make you feel much safer yet, does it?" I asked, rhetorically. "You're scared now. But soon --I hope it's soon-- you'll transition from that fear to fury. Anger is the correct emotion, and much more useful, in my opinion.
"This... punk... came to your house uninvited, and attempted to enter your residence by force. Who does he think he is?!? Be angry. Be furious. Because anger makes you strong. And you could use the strength."
We talked for a few more minutes, and I assured her that we would come help her if she called. I hope she finds peace in her house soon.