While the mayor's office and the city council do what they can to keep crime rates quiet behind closed doors, Lawton has earned its reputation as a place where nothing is safe or sacred.

Just like being the victim of a hit-and-run accident is a sort of baptism to becoming a card-carrying Lawtonian, having something stolen from your home is a very common thing here.

I can't tell you how many people I know have had something snatched out of the garage, front yard, back yard, or even a quick in-and-out good old fashion smash and grab... and as bad as it is to say, as schools let out for summer the high theft crime rates will likely soar higher. Just the nature of living in a place that's too hot with too little for youths to do.

You see it almost every day on social media too... "So-and-so stole my ______!" to which the usual reply is "Well, you shouldn't have left ______ outside."

This is classic victim-blaming, but with Lawton's history of non-violent crime and theft, I think blaming the victim is fair... to an extent.

When my father comes down to fish our fertile smallmouth lake, I often have to remind him to not leave my garage door open at any point in time throughout the day or night. He comes from a small Mayberry of a town up North and thinks I'm just being paranoid that someone would sneak into my garage to steal something.

One night we were standing in my driveway talking to a neighbor. It was that twilight dusky hour when it's not dark enough for lights, but not light enough to see. My garage was open and dark, the driveway lights weren't yet on. Randomly a car rolls down my street, headlights turn off, and they stop in front and start to get out. I say a quick "Can I help you?" at which point they hop back in the car and flee. Pops was stunned by how brazen, risky, and opportunistic our Lawton thieves can be.

Whether you're new to Lawton or have years of experience living here, if you don't want to be a victim of theft, don't leave a golden opportunity for thieves to make you one.

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