The Quest for Security
SECURITY. World leaders negotiate for it. Religious leaders pray for it. Yet, to the ordinary man in the street, security seems an elusive dream. Take, for example, Ron, who was walking to work in South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg.
“There were five men around me, one with a knife at my throat and another with one at my back. They went through my pockets in seconds. I felt like a plucked chicken. People passing by simply ignored me.” Ron did not resist and escaped unhurt.
For many, walking the streets of any large city is stressful. ‘How can I avoid being mugged?’ lurks in the back of their mind. They hurry to complete their shopping so they can return to the security of home. But how safe is home? “The odds of your experiencing someone invading the sanctity of your home, seizing part or all of your possessions and vanishing without a trace are increasing dramatically each year,” states the book Total Home Security.
As a result, homeowners put up notices warning intruders that vicious dogs are on the premises or that these are monitored by an armed patrol. In many neighborhoods householders join forces in an effort to combat crime. “There are more than 60,000 schemes in Britain alone, involving 750,000 households,” states the journal Security Focus. “With crime on the increase, it is a thing of the past for neighbours not to be on friendly terms,” said an insurance broker in Africa.
Members of neighborhood-watch schemes look out for one another’s welfare and report any suspicious activity to the police.* But a newsletter explained to a group member whose house was burglarized: “Unfortunately the scheme is not a guarantee that you will never be burgled again. No security scheme in existence can make that claim. . . . You must still ensure that your doors are locked, that you have a burglar alarm and have taken reasonable security precautions.”
Though neighborhood-watch schemes have had some effect, it is debatable whether they reduce the overall crime rate. “Claimed reductions in crime in a small area are only ‘successes’ if there is little or no ‘displacement’ of that crime to adjoining areas,” explain Shapland and Vagg in Policing by the Public. Thus, in some cities where neighborhood-watch groups have reported outstanding success, there has been a phenomenal increase in crime in other areas of the same cities where it is difficult to organize such schemes.
“There are some areas where neighborhood watch is not as effective,” admits the secretary of a countrywide scheme involving over 20,000 members. She was referring to large sites “out of town where the neighbors cannot see each other and where patrolling does not work.” For example, one couple moved from an American city to a 50-acre [20 ha] site near a small village. Within a few years, their house was broken into twice. The wife voiced the feelings of many rural dwellers: “I try to be normal, but I’m afraid. . . . I never feel safe.” In countries plagued with political conflict, rural dwellers face additional violence and are often pressured into taking sides.
No wonder many long for ‘the good old days.’ “Around the beginning of this century,” states the book The Growth of Crime, “there was . . . a general belief that [crime] would become milder in quality.” But what happened instead? Authors Sir Leon Radzinowicz and Joan King explain: “In the first twenty years of the century, even during the first world war, rates of crime remained fairly level, no more than keeping pace with population. It was in the post-war depression that a sustained trend became discernible. Through the years of economic upheaval, unemployment and another great war, [crime] gathered pace inexorably . . . The one thing that hits you in the eye when you look at crime on the world scale is a pervasive and persistent increase everywhere.”
This “increasing of lawlessness,” though unexpected by many, was actually foretold. The major calamities that have struck mankind since the start of the first world war in 1914 were indicated aforetime in the Bible. Jesus predicted that man’s wicked system was drawing to an end: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. And because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off.”—Matthew 24:3, 7, 12; see also Luke 21:10, 11.
“As these things start to occur,” Jesus added, “raise yourselves erect and lift your heads up, because your deliverance is getting near.” Thus, you have reason for optimism. Man’s quest for earth-wide security is about to be satisfied.—Luke 21:28-32.