Aim for the stars

A few years ago my wife and I became victims of a curious crime. Someone entered our garden under cover of darkness and stole a tree. Not a large tree. One small enough to carry. We never found out what happened to the tree. We didn’t receive a ransom note or anything. I just hope that it was treated kindly.

Anyway, feeling strangely vulnerable after the theft/kidnapping of the tree, I phoned the local police station and asked to speak to the Crime Prevention Officer.

“You mean the Crime Reduction Officer?” asked the receptionist.

Now lowering expectations is appropriate in some circumstances, like when my son wrote a ten page letter to Santa listing his gift requirements and I had to suggest he deleted a few items, but often lowering your expectations can be self-defeating. I accept that crime prevention may be impossible in an absolute sense, but at least it gives something to aim for. Also, crime prevention is about stopping crime happening to victims (people). Crime reduction focuses on the number of crimes – a statistic. It’s a subtle but important difference.

It reminds me of a lesson I learned a long time ago, which has been very valuable over the years:

Aim for the stars, land in the tree.
Aim for the tree, land on the ground.


2 responses to “Aim for the stars

  1. Oh, I didn’t think of it that way.
    I thought it was a more accurate, ‘politically correct’ word of what they really do

    • Thank you, TSW. I imagine someone decided that crime prevention is an impossible task, and that a more accurate word was required. But I think it causes a shift in expectations.

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