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Safety remains  too silent an issue for Peterborough

It’s been six months since the robbery at gunpoint of Hobbs Jewelers in downtown Peterborough, and while security improvements have been made in Depot Square it’s not clear how much safer or more organized we are as a community.

It’s gratifying to know Hobbs has been reimbursed in some measure through its insurance company for the $150,000 in losses it suffered when four people held up the store on a January weekday around 5 p.m. closing time. It’s also good to know the FBI is still investigating the robbery and that Depot Square owner Cy Gregg has answered the call for exterior security cameras for the numerous businesses in the square.

But what are we doing to make Peterborough as whole more secure?

Beyond the regular police logs, there seems to be a lack of communication about safety and security in this town. It’s common knowledge that Peterborough police officers conduct building checks downtown in the evening hours and we see them from time to time during the day issuing parking tickets. However, what changes police have implemented or additional patrols that are being conducted in the wake of the robbery is unknown.

When the robbery happened in January, we felt sure the community would organize a crime watch or, at the very least, hold a meeting or two to discuss how to make the town less of a target for crime. But that hasn’t happened and we’re back to square one, with each store owner and his/her employees vulnerable to come what may.

Is this the result of lack of interest or are we just too busy to talk about our town’s security?

Crime happens in New Hampshire just as it does everywhere and there are no surefire ways of completely eliminating it. But it seems prudent for a small town like Peterborough to do everything it can to let people know this isn’t the rural place for would-be robbers to come and take advantage.

This is not to say Peterborough is fundamentally unsafe, but the Hobbs robbery isn’t the only large-scale crime Peterborough has seen in recent years. In 2010, TD Bank on Grove Street was robbed at gunpoint, too, and there have been numerous home burglaries reported as well.

There are certainly safety issues when it comes to dealing with crime, and some may argue that leaving it to the professionals is the thing to do. That may be true, but it shouldn’t be an argument for a community to sit back and remain passive.

Peterborough in many ways is seen as a town that leads the way in this neck of the woods. But the silence surrounding security and safety says something else.

It’s time we faced the complicated issue of keeping our town safe, and recognize it takes open communication and organization to do so. Police should be community partners in this endeavor, facilitating a process that helps residents know what they can do, as well as what they shouldn’t do, to protect our town.

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