Security At A Price.
It started last summer. Young Jimmy Parker was attacked while doing his paper round early one Friday morning. Two teenagers knocked him off his bike and stole his phone. The newsagent called the Police, but they didn’t come, said they were over stretched and just gave out a crime number. Jimmy’s Dad and Uncle decided to get involved and two weeks later the same two teenagers were taken to hospital with serious head injuries. Justice was done and more importantly, was seen to be done. The Parkers were never questioned by The Police.
A few months later Mrs Garland at Number 46 opened her front door to a man who said he’d come to read her Electric Meter. Once inside he pushed her to the floor, ran upstairs and searched her bedroom. He left with her jewellery box and a few hundred quid that she was saving for Christmas presents for the grandkids. She wasn’t seriously hurt, just shaken up. She called her son and he called The Police. They took a statement from Mrs Garland and said they would “Investigate.”
After six weeks and with no progress in the investigation, Mrs Garland’s son paid a visit to the Parker family and asked if they could help track down the burglar. He offered to pay for their time and they agreed. Ten days later a local drug addict was found dead in an abandoned flat with a needle hanging out of his arm. The “Official” cause of death was an overdose. The same day Mr Parker turned up at the Garlands house and returned her jewellery box.
Over the next six months the estate dealt with its own problems. No one called The Police anymore they went straight to the Parkers. Terry and his brother Steve became the local Security. The estate became a crime free area. No more petty crime, no muggings, no burglaries, nothing. It got to the point where the local Police didn’t bother patrolling the area, no point, nothing happened.
Then we all got a leaflet through our doors asking us to attend a meeting at the local community hall. It was from the Parkers.
Terry Parker spoke about how the estate had changed dramatically over the past few months and how it was again like “The old days”. You could literally go out now and leave your front door open and be confident that everything would be fine. You could walk down the streets any time night and day and be safe. We all agreed. Then he mentioned something that took all of us by surprise.
“So...in order to keep our estate safe and secure and free from crime, there has to be a cost. I want to ask you all to pay twenty pounds a month, that’s just five pounds a week, the price of a good pint. This will enable us to buy a car and patrol the estate night and day.”
There was a stunned silence. No one had expected that we had to pay for our safety. It made perfect sense of course. It was a big estate and there was only Terry and Steve Parker to cover it all.
After much deliberation, it was decided that we would need time to think it over and we would meet up again in two weeks. Terry and Steve Parker agreed with the decision and also stated that they would be taking some well earned holiday during that time.
The next two weeks were carnage. Cars were broken into, tyres let down, windows smashed, there were five muggings in just one night and our local supermarket was looted. The next meeting couldn’t come soon enough.
It was a packed hall that greeted Terry and Steve Parker that night. They were welcomed back from holiday like heroes returning from the war.
Forms were completed, Bank details were given and Terry Parker even had his own Credit Card machine at the ready to take payments.
Parker Security Ltd (PSL) was soon up and running. Two brand new Land Rover Discovery’s patrolled the estate but not by Terry and Steve Parker, they were too busy, but by two large Russian gentlemen.
A few people on the estate were against it and decided not to pay their twenty pounds a month. Coincidentally these were the only people who were the victims of crime over the next six months and it wasn’t long before they were asking the Parkers if the could join the scheme. Terry and Steve agreed but said because they’d joined late they had to pay the premium rate, which was fifty per cent extra. It was their own fault of course, they should have taken the Parkers up on their offer when we all did.
But now I’ve got a bit of a problem. I was made redundant two weeks ago and I’m going to struggle to pay the monthly security fee. I called the Parkers this afternoon and told them the situation. They said they’d be round tonight to “pay me a visit and sort things out”. That was nice of them, so I’ve put the kettle on and put some biscuits on a plate.