Kennebec Tales

October 17, 2013

Sex offenders, group homes, crime? Augusta is better today than it was in the ‘good old days’

By Maureen Milliken
News Editor

(Continued from page 1)

But the next morning, it was clear the sliding screen had been removed from the porch window nearest where my sister had been sleeping and there was rock underneath the window big enough to stand on.

That was a few years before my brother’s shower intruder. The results were basically the same. “I think the cops were called, but nothing came of it,” Billy said this week of the shower intruder.

Other odd things happened — not as scary or dangerous — but odd.

Once my brother Jimmy was home sick in bed from school and a stranger walked into his bedroom. He told my brother he thought our house was an apartment house.

Our family even had a joke for when something strange happened. We’d been visited by “the bushy-haired intruder,” a name stolen from a made-for-TV movie about the Sam Shepherd murder case.

Any young woman of that era could expect to be approached by someone in a car — almost always middle-aged men — while walking. We had the reaction down straight — say no firmly, stare straight ahead, walk briskly and hope he went away. I can remember at least once a car doing a slow crawl behind me for at least a block or two as I walked home from Cony. And this was in the bright, busy light of midafternoon in a busy part of the city.

There were so many strange, troublesome and dangerous people wandering the streets of Augusta back then we had nicknames for many of them, names that are either too politically incorrect or too mean to repeat here.

So, no, Augusta was no Norman Rockwell painting.

A lot has changed since the 1970s. Violent crime has plummeted. Kids are more aware of wrong or dangerous behavior and what to do when they see it. People talk about abuse, violence and assault and those things are taken a lot more seriously by authorities than they were 40 years ago. People report things instead of shrugging them off as “normal.” Police take those reports more seriously.

In 2013 we have sex offender registries. They serve their purpose — we know exactly where these guys are.

The registered sex offenders aren’t the ones we have to worry about.

Because the one thing that hasn’t changed since the 1970s is that there are dangerous people everywhere and many of them aren’t on a registry.

My sister recalls “there were a lot of scary people” around back then.

There still are. They’re living on your street or around the corner, even if your house isn’t on Green Street.

Maureen Milliken is news editor of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Email her at mmilliken@centralmaine.com. Kennebec Tales is published the first and third Thursday of the month.

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