Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 |
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My wife and I have visited your island (Kaua’i) for the second time in two years. We have enjoyed the hospitality of your residents and the beauty of your island. In reading your paper, I noticed an article that talked of a concern from crime that reminded me of the county I grew up in here in California.
Back in the 1950s, my county was primarily an agriculture county. Local business and corporations moved here with the promise of improving the quality of life.
Yes, incomes increased as the corporations moved in, but not as fast as home prices and the cost of living. A family with a single wage earner could afford to buy a home in the ’50s. Now, in the year 2000, the income from both the husband and wife can barely (if at all) be sufficient to purchase a home.
Our streets and freeways are so congested (seldom enough land left to expand the current roads) that what was once a 10-minute drive can easily be 30 to 60 minutes.
The agriculture is now primarily grapes owned by firms or people who intend to build when the time is ripe.
Now for the subject at hand: Crime. Back when the county was primarily agriculture, you could go to work and leave your doors and windows unlocked. Nobody would bother your property. Now that we have had a heavy increase in population, the crime is so bad that you can have your car stolen while you are driving it (carjacked), be a victim of a drive-by shooting, or have to install very intense security systems for your property.
The law enforcement agencies seldom respond to an auto accident unless it is extremely serious, and the investigation of your home burglary could just be a postcard from the police asking for details. The bottom line is that the rate of crime climbed at a much faster rate than the growth in population and the financial ability of the local governments to provide the additional services.
If your island is starting to suffer from crime problems, the cause could be in the direction you are starting to take by increasing your population rather than preserving the beauty that attracts us tourists.
MICHAEL LOOMIS, Rohnert Park, Calif.
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