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STORM: Need a good resolution? I have some suggestions

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Valuables left in plain sight may lead to a vehicle break-in.


Janet Storm

Sunday, January 8, 2017

OK people, listen up. I know many of you have already made your New Year’s resolutions — be kinder, switch to e-cigarettes, give up foods that end in “ieto” — but the truth is you may be focusing on the wrong things. Sure it is important to be healthy and to stop berating strangers over their fashion choices. But you are missing the bigger picture.

If you really want to have a happy new year, it’s time to stop making choices that inconvenience, endanger and frustrate you and the people around you. With this in mind, here are five resolutions I hope you will consider as 2017 unfolds.

1. Stop leaving valuable stuff in your car. As a person who reads over police reports every day, I am baffled by the number of folks who cannot be bothered to take cameras, computers, phones, wallets, handbags and other items out of their vehicles. Car break-ins happen all the time in this town. In fact, they have happened all the time in almost every place I have ever lived. It is never safe to leave electronics or designer purses out where thieves can spot them. Bring your stuff inside the house. Yes, I realize that some people may think, “Well, getting stuff stolen from my car isn’t my fault — it is the thief’s fault.” I agree. But sometimes it is more important to be sensible than it is to be right. Is it really more inconvenient to lug that laptop inside than it would be to replace it?

2. Stop riding the bumper of the car in front of you. When I was a much younger person, I got a stern lecture from a friend about following other cars too closely. “If someone comes to a sudden stop, you’re going to get yourself killed,” my friend told me. I am reminded of this excellent point every time I look at crash reports and see how many people are ticketed for “failure to reduce speed.” Drivers are prone to random slow downs and stops in this town, in part because there are so many business and residential entrances on major thoroughfares. Take a breath and back off. You may save yourself a ticket — or a catastrophic crash.

3. Stop using social media to say things you probably would not say to anyone’s face. Ever since Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other forms of social media came into existence, people have been posting comments that range from mean-spirited to downright offensive. That’s always a dangerous thing to do. People have lost their jobs and ruined their reputations over some comment they probably believed was pithy and hilarious. Remember this — your privacy settings often are far less private than you think they are. And thanks to screen grabs, things you have posted may haunt you forever. Think before you type.

4. Stop automatically believing things that sound too good to be true, seem designed to frighten you or claim to be a scandalous revelation that no one else has uncovered. Whether it is an internet ad promising you can lose weight without dieting or exercising (if only), a mysterious call that tells you to pay a fine for missing jury duty that you knew nothing about (scam city), or a “news” story that makes claims that you have not read or heard about anywhere else (red flag), do some research. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your hard-earned cash to scam artists and reposting stories from internet satire sites.

5. Stop treating animals as disposable commodities. Few things hurt my heart as much as seeing animals handed over to shelters by their former families. Here’s a news flash — small puppies may get big, young pets will get old and even the best cats and dogs can be grumpy, especially if they are confused or in pain. Adopting an animal is a commitment not to be taken lightly. Just like any other relationship, you have to take the good with the bad. In the case of pets, the good is so wonderful, that it is worth weathering the bad. Research breeds, invest in obedience classes, make regular vet visits. Keep your promise to love them forever, and they will return that love as long as they live.

Contact Janet Storm at 252-329-9587 or jstorm@reflector.com.