More at stake than property

Today’s edition of the Langley Times includes not one, but two stories about Langley City women who were victims of crimes that, on the surface, could be described as minor, but no doubt will have a lasting impact.

In the first, a teenage girl managed to scare off an intruder before he could steal anything or, heaven forbid, harm anyone in the household. Hearing a noise at the window of her dark, second floor bedroom, the 17-year-old investigated and came face to face with an intruder. She yelled at him to get out and, luckily, he did.

It was broad daylight, on the other hand, when an 86-year-old woman was robbed on a street in downtown Langley.

The thief got away with cash, but not before the feisty senior managed to bash the robber with her cane. Unfortunately, the elderly victim suffered a broken ankle and severe bruising during the altercation.

Then again, perhaps “victim” is the wrong word in both these cases, because each woman stood her ground against the perpetrator. Whether it was courage, instinct or a combination of the two, in the face of such admirable behaviour, it’s easy to forget there can be lasting psychological effects from being the target of such criminal elements.

In the case of the teenager, she discovered after returning home from a subsequent visit to her grandparents’ house that being in her own home triggered frightening memories of her ordeal. She’s improving now, but found that for a time she needed to sit with her back to a wall and to leave her bedroom light on at night in order to feel safe.

Once her physical injuries have healed, it may be that the senior has no trouble walking down the same street where she was robbed and brutalized.

But who could blame her if she’s reluctant to venture out on her own for a while? We hope she can focus on the fact that the good people — including the unidentified man who came to her aid — far outnumber the bad.

The loss of money or property, while inconvenient and, frankly annoying, is something most of us can recover from pretty quickly. It’s when we lose our sense of personal well being that we’ve truly been robbed.

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