Getting robbed at gunpoint would be a terrifying experience that no one wants to endure. For it to happen to a woman sitting in car in a downtown Belleville parking lot, not far from the Square, is shocking and upsetting.
But let's keep crime in Belleville in perspective. This was a random act of violence that could happen anytime, in any city. The fact that it happened downtown doesn't mean that crime is rampant in Belleville, or that it's time to put the house up for sale and move to Freeburg or Smithton.
Crime needs to be judged not on simply one incident but based on the pattern over time. And Belleville's crime statistics are stable; crime overall is not increasing.
That, of course, is cold comfort to the victim and the people who work, live in or frequent downtown. But residents should find comfort in knowing the police do an excellent job of patrolling downtown and keeping people safe. And even though they were unable to prevent this particular crime, they quickly apprehended the assailants.
Be alert and vigilant for crime -- in Belleville and every place else.