I am often surprised by the opinion columns that generate a response from the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin readers. The column I refer to often when discussing this phenomenon is the one, several years ago, about the red fox sitting at the edge of the railroad tracks at the south end of Walnut St., moving his head from west to east as the train traveled in that direction early one morning. There was considerable feedback about the fox counting cars or reading the train’s abundant graffiti.
I personally found the fox and his behavior amusing, but never thought the column would even be read to the end; much less generate such a response from readers. It was one of those “are you kidding me?” columns. Sometimes months go by with no one mentioning this space and what has been printed here. And then something will strike a nerve with the reading public and everyone and his grandmother has a comment.
Even with the seriously nasty weather and folks staying home in droves, I have had feedback on a recent column. Just in case you had hoped to chime in, but the snowdrifts at the end of your driveway forbade you from attending the local Downtown Whiners Association meetings, I am opening up the lines of communication. Let me know what you think.
A column about reports of lurking strangers, attempts at stealing unlocked vehicles, theft of property from cars, porches, and outbuildings, has struck a community nerve and has even generated some additional tales about such behavior. Creepy people sneaking around at night make most people shudder. I can name about a dozen people who have observed unusual behavior after dark. I suspect there are others.
The problem is that few of the stories have ended up with the people who need to know about it — our local law enforcement. The best thing anyone can do with information about suspicious behavior is contact the police. Putting together information that includes times, dates, and places, suspect descriptions, missing or damaged property can help officials piece together patterns that might eventually solve this problem.
Saying nothing, or only telling the group at the coffee shop, really does not help.
So my speech for this week is to share the information with those who might actually do something about it. I know the nighttime stalking is still going on because there was another incident this past week. Creepy folks are still haunting the alleys and shadows. If you suspect they have been haunting yours, call (620) 983-2133 and report it. If you actually observe a person behaving in a suspicious manner, call 911.
— SUSAN MARSHALL