It seems that the fear of crime is going up while crime itself is actually going down in this country. While I'm not too sure about the statistics of this or the reasons behind it, I do know that the image of crime can easily be deterred by an image of authority. Thus it has become common to have a security person sitting at the door of one's business or residence at all times. In these paranoid nineties, even STIM has a reassuring security guard at the front desk, and his name is Larry.
Born 43 years ago and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Larry Stokley since attended prep school in North Carolina, then moved to Texas for Junior College, then earned a degree Business Management in Oklahoma for the next four years. Larry's been all over the country for his schooling, and even had the time to raise two kids as a single father, but it was a strong commitment to his mother and brothers that brought him back home to New York.
Being far away from his family had taken its toll on him, and his mother was getting older and his younger brothers were all by themselves. "So one day I said, 'the hell with it!' I came home to visit one April. My kids were on Spring Break with me, and we just decided to stay." That was about a year and a half ago and since then Larry's been working security here at our front desk.
"It's not too bad at all; it's quiet and pretty easy up here," Larry says of our secure little office. "Once everyone is gone for the night, it stays calm. I can see all the way to the service elevator at the other end of the office, and we've got cameras too." In fact, it's so quiet here that when I asked to hear some horror stories from the front, Larry was at a loss. "The scariest thing was when [Prodigy soundguy] Ned came up late one night with his shoulder separated after his bike accident. He sat here freaking out while I called 911." He continues on about how our office differs from when he works security at the bank down on the corner. "It's just as quiet there, but you never know. So I keep moving around the building at all times, making sure it stays quiet."
Larry tells me that the business of security is growing at a rapid rate. People are tired of losing money and merchandise, and are wary of risking their own lives chasing after some petty shoplifter. It's a one in a million chance that something will happen, but why mess around with the odds? "You can't go into any store or restaurant anymore without seeing a security guard," Larry says. "It just makes sense to take that extra precaution these days."
Is crime really that bad, or are Americans just becoming more afraid of everything? "It's a little of both, I think," Larry concludes. "People were getting ripped off, at one point. What do you do? You can't leave your store behind while you chase after someone. It just makes sense to have someone around to do that for you." It may be quiet and uneventful at the office late at night, but if the security guard was not there, anything could go wrong. Luckily it stays quiet in our office late at night. Larry keeps things quiet so that we can go through our daily routine of bringing STIM to you and the world. Thanks Larry! </end>