The concept of safety and security is often misunderstood and misaligned in a country like America. Yes, I come from a third world country which is struggling on many fronts, but we don’t run into safety hazards and incidents every day and in every corner. There must be something fundamentally absorbed into the culture which is acting as an enabling factor for this misunderstood notion of safety. Adaptability is not normalizing unsafe environments but preventing incidents.

Statistics on Violence and Crime

It is easier for my engineering mindset to evaluate and analyze numbers and statistics for developing an argument. According to the crime watch statistics, an increase of 40% since 2017 has been observed in street crimes involving a gun in Washington D.C alone. This translates to a total of 2,203 gun related violence incidents being reported in the capital city in just 2022! The numbers are not only alarming but also directive of how the community is highly involved in this form of violence. Gun violence has been spreading like an epidemic in the country, but the underlying reasons maybe more deeply rooted into the culture, history, and also with the politics of the country. According to a snapshot of the crime watch, just at the beginning of 2023, car thefts are 113% higher than compared to 2022 with general robberies being increased by 57% as compared to the last year.

Source: Open Data DC. Chart: Axios Visuals

Walking into Violence: It is All Around

Being a fellow and living on limited resources, unfortunately we are bound to rely heaving on walking, public transport, and inexpensive means of commute. The glaring lights off police vehicles and the emergency services along with the rapid notifications and alerts of security incidents around Washington D.C, have been a constant since day one of my arrival in this city. My country may have suffered from terrorism and other forms of violence, but I never experienced them up front on day-to-day basis and they were infrequent and had shallow impacts. It is not a fair comparison, and it may need more research and analysis, but based on my person experience, violence in America is a big concern for the residents and it impacts the communities psychologically, emotionally, and definitely physically.

Accepting and Adapting to Violence: Tis Not Normalizing

While discussing this societal dilemma with the local communities, I have observed that many people in this country have accepted this to be the new normal and have adapted to the flawed safety concerns. They believe that this is now engraved in their culture and they live within it. This is alarming for a person coming in the country for merely a few months but being observant and knowing that this has intense impacts for generations to come. Believing that this is normal is half the violence committed, and not standing against it is a sign of passive acceptance. Violence of any sort should not be normalized and should always be condemned.

At the end of the day, the goals are simple: Safety and Security – Jodi Rell

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