To the Editor:
Be careful what you wish for citizens of Fargo, especially the young ones. Fargo is a good town but too often it is lamented that the only thing to do in Fargo is raise a family and die. That situation is changing as downtown Fargo is hopping even on weeknights and other parts are equally busy. The young finally got their wish: Fargo is becoming a big city. But is being a big city really a good deal?
Large cities have crime. Chicago is seeing its young die in street violence, Minneapolis has a platoon of police on the streets on a weekend night, and while we aren’t there yet, the recent muggings that have been in the news indicate that Fargo may be developing some big city habits.
A large city has many things to do that keep the youth in town. That’s good, but as the population increases, crime will naturally increase and as we haven’t been big for very long, we still assume we can blindly walk down a dark alley without looking around first or saying hello to people standing in the shadows. Those days are gone.
Statistically speaking, Fargo is still safe (except for women: rape is above the national average). Two numbers, while below the national average, are up: assaults and robberies. There were 194 assaults and 27 robberies in 2008, up from 45 and 27 in 1999. While all crime is inexcusable, it is these types of crime that affect people out walking on Broadway or having a smoke outside a bar. They are the crimes that you must be most vigilant against; they make you feel unsafe in public. And if you don’t feel safe, then you aren’t likely to go out and spend your money and contribute to the big-city feel that so many people in the area have long desired.
If Fargo continues to grow, our crime rate will increase. Fargo will no longer be a little city. The days of carelessly leaving home for a night out will be gone, replaced by wondering if the can of pepper spray and a defensive punch to a mugger’s Adam’s apple are enough.
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