In the past several months, I have read reports of several muggings and armed robberies in my neighborhood, some break-ins and the armed robbery of a nearby credit union and another down the street from us.

This is disconcerting, to say the least. Never in the four years we have lived here have I heard of so much crime happening in our neighborhood.

Perhaps nothing has changed, and I’m just reading about more of the bad things that happen. But I fear things are getting worse.

When you remove the social safety net (cut back funding for food stamps, housing assistance and health insurance), and when the best addiction treatment centers in the area close because of lack of funding, well, guess what happens? People get desperate.

The other day, I woke up to find one of our hanging flower pots missing. Our tenant later told me that she tracked the fuchsia tendrils down the street and found the emptied flower pot around the corner. We wondered who would do such a thing, and why.

Then I realized that the fuchsia thief wanted someone else to feel at least a little of what he was feeling inside. Bereft. Angry. Powerless.

There will be more of this. More crime, more panhandlers on the street. When you take away the last things of the people who have the least, well, even if no one wants to hear what they have to say, they will find a way to speak.

Jennifer Lunden

Portland