Editorial: You can run from crime; but it will catch you

Most fatal traffic accidents happen within a few miles of the victim's home. The reply: "I guess I'd better move."

So goes an old joke that plays on the reality that when it comes to danger, you can run but you can't hide.

Traffic accidents are a plague of their own in Harford County this year, as the death toll on local roads is nearing 30, but another problem of homegrown origins has been on the rise lately, namely daytime burglaries in neighborhoods that would be regarded as low crime areas.

It isn't the first time the problem has cropped up, just the latest. In recent weeks, 16 people have been arrested in connection with about 20 burglary cases.

To date, this wave of burglaries mirrors others that have plagued Harford County from time to time over the years. In general, such criminal activity has come to fruition as new generations of young people have become hooked on illicit drugs and then have targeted their neighbors to secure cash or high dollar items that are easily converted into cash.

Such is the discrepancy between the perception and reality of crime. The belief is criminals come into a community and target people they don't know. The reality is criminals ply their trade close to home because that's the territory they know best. It's not a coincidence that poor neighborhoods plagued by people hooked on illicit drugs are also plagued by crime problems.

And it's not a coincidence that every time there's a wave of burglaries in more affluent areas of the county, most of the people charged usually end up being from those same affluent areas.

When it comes down to it, it is no more possible to move away from criminal activity than it is possible to move away from the possibility of being involved in a bad traffic accident.

How to deal with the unpleasant reality? Now that's a good question, no matter where you live.

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