Have You Ever Wondered—
Will Our City Streets Ever Be Safe Again?
“YOU’RE safer on the battlefield than on our streets,” stated a New York City newspaper. It reported that the chance of some New Yorkers’ being violently killed was greater than that of American soldiers during World War II. If you live in a large city no one has to tell you how dangerous the streets are.
ARE CONDITIONS GETTING WORSE?
Perhaps you can remember when one could walk the streets at any hour and be relatively safe. But times have changed.
A 1980 poll taken in Toronto, Canada, found that nearly two out of every three women were more afraid to walk alone then than they were five years ago. Similar surveys found that six out of ten adults in Barcelona, Spain, and the same percentage of women in the United States, were afraid to venture out at night. The picture worldwide is worsening. News reports indicate “Vicious Crimes Up” on the streets of Japanese cities and an “Upsurge in Crime” in China.
Virtually every measure has been taken to stop street crime—stepped-up police and civilian patrols, better lighting and individual concern and thought for personal safety—yet the muggings, rapes and robberies surge ahead.
WHAT IS NEEDED?
It is not darkness or solitude alone that makes our streets unsafe. It is people—the muggers, rapists, molesters and others—that make the streets dangerous. If you were sure that only persons who were kind and who had high moral standards walked the streets, would you fear to go out at any hour of the night, regardless of street lighting?
“What is needed to stop crime,” stated two doctors after concluding a 15-year study of criminals, “is not so much better housing or conventional therapy, but . . . an offender’s ‘conversion’ to a whole new lifestyle and rigorous moral education. . . . a total destruction of a criminal’s personality.” Yes, a change in the person is needed.
The Bible well epitomized the needed change: “Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts.” (Isa. 55:7) But what can make a wicked man change his way, and even his thoughts? What is powerful enough to convert “a criminal’s personality”?
CAN ANYTHING CHANGE CRIMINALS?
The warden of a large city jail, after observing hundreds of criminals, stated: “The Bible’s a lot more persuasive than a blackjack.” Was his estimation valid? If sincerely applied, can the Bible really change the personality of those who make our streets dangerous?
“I had been arrested more than 40 times for robbery, assault and battery, attempted murder and various other charges,” began a 32-year-old prisoner once held in the Angola State Penitentiary in Louisiana (U.S.). While in prison he was contacted by Jehovah’s Witnesses and he began a study of the Bible.
“The more I found out about the Bible’s truth the more I wanted to learn,” continued this previously violent man who thereafter made a complete change in his personality. He qualified to be baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. His changed conduct so impressed the prison authorities that he was allowed to finish his sentence in his hometown jail doing maintenance duty for the sheriff. “Because it has been proven that Jehovah’s Witnesses can be trusted, I am allowed on the streets every day.”
Another prisoner at Angola State prison who had likewise been assisted by Jehovah’s Witnesses to change his former violent personality was asked: “What if someone told you that he couldn’t overcome a certain bad habit?” This former robber replied: “After overcoming my temper, a smoking habit and an endless appetite for immoral sex, I could in no way agree with such a poor excuse.” Then after reflecting he continued: “The Bible promises real freedom from anything a person may be enslaved to. So if a person really loves Jehovah God, he can conquer any habit with His help.”
These are just two of a number of prisoners earth wide whose personality has been changed by a study of the Bible with the help of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These, and countless other examples of former thieves, addicts, rapists, muggers and murderers, are adequate testimony that “accurate knowledge” of God and his purposes can help one to “strip off the old personality with its practices.” (Col. 3:9, 10) The truths of God had the power to change depraved criminals into Christians in the first century, and it still has this power!—1 Cor. 6:9-11.
Yet, obviously, not everyone will study and apply what the Bible says.
WHAT IS THE COMPLETE SOLUTION?
“When the wicked ones sprout as the vegetation and the practicers of what is hurtful blossom forth,” warns the Bible, “it is that they may be annihilated forever.” (Ps. 92:7) These incorrigible “practicers of what is hurtful” will be completely destroyed by God, who knows their hearts. This will assure a crime-free world for the future.
But when will such a complete change come? The “increasing of lawlessness” that presently makes our streets unsafe was foretold in the Bible as an indication that the coming destruction of the wicked was near. This and the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies is convincing evidence that we are living in what the Bible terms “the last days.”—Matt. 24:3-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
So we shall soon see the destruction of all “practicers of what is hurtful.” The survivors of this destruction will then see the complete fulfillment of this heartwarming Bible prophecy: “Everyone will live in peace . . . and no one will make him afraid.”—Mic. 4:4, Today’s English Version.