Today’s Elgin Courier-News ran a story about crime in my neighborhood. The reporter did a ride-along with our local beat officer and wrote a good article about the different factors that influence crime and public safety in a our very diverse neighborhood.
I love my neighborhood dearly and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’m quoted saying that crime has improved over the past few years, which it certainly has. It made me think back to the first couple rocky summers, when there were serious problems on my block and neighborhood.
Though problems still crop up, by being proactive, we have gotten much better at nipping them in the bud. Working with the city and the police is a reality that has helped slow the growth of new problems this spring. But we can’t rest on our laurels. This is still a large city (100,000+) facing the same economic problems that plague the rest of the region. I counted the other day and realized 5 of the 8 houses on my block have been in some stage of foreclosure in the past 18 months. Wow.
But still, I love this neighborhood for its sense of community, for the friendly neighbors, for the small-town feel. I’ve often called Elgin the “biggest small town I’ve ever known,” and it’s true. While there are over 100,000 people in town, it’s rare that I can go out – even beyond the neighborhood – and not run into someone I know in some capacity. And I’ve only been here four years!
And that in and of itself is worth its weight in gold.