I grew up in a large Detroit suburb ("The Land of Malls") and then lived in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area for many years. So living in a small town like Chelsea, Michigan has been a big change for me. This town is so small that our newspaper only comes out once a week. And in the police blotter, I have read such exciting tales as (paraphrasing, but it's all true)...
"Teens loitering at Pierce Park after dark. Police officers tell them to leave, and then they do."
"Man calls police because he hears strange noise. Police investigate, but find nothing."
In most cities, this kind of thing would not even be on the police's to do list, much less be printed in the newspaper.
One morning last year, I called the police because I came out to find the back window of my van in little pieces all over the driveway. An officer came to investigate (within the hour, no less) and having not found any glass on the interior and noting that nothing had been stolen from the unlocked car, explained that there had most likely been a hairline crack that simply given way. I was seriously wondering whether my incident was going to be in the next week's Police Beat. It wasn't.
Lately, the police blotter has not been quite so amusing. There have been assaults, vandalism, warrant arrests and more. In our small town, anything more intense would be front page news, but still it is not as reassuringly lame as it used to be. Perhaps it's a sign of the times, spring fever, or just a bad run of luck. Perhaps I've become so acclimated to the safety and comfort of our little town, that I am just a wee bit shocked when I read that someone put nail polish in a dryer at the laundromat. And it was "an apparently intentional act". The scandal! The nerve!
But after all, I did find something to smirk about in a recent Police Beat headline:
"Drunken driving prevented" (Chelsea Standard, 4/19/07).
Ahhhh, it's good to live in Chelsea.