I am exceedingly blessed by God to live in Sevier County, and I try always to remember that. When I look however at what is happening around the world, and in our own country, it makes me somewhat concerned about my grandchildren’s future. Crime (especially drug abuse and the violence associated with these addictions) continues to be a more and more serious problem around our great nation. In some parts of our country it really isn’t safe to venture outside one’s own home after dark and in some communities, even during broad daylight. The world today is nothing like the one I grew up in and it sometimes makes me apprehensive about where, as a nation, we seem to be headed.
Living within the Sevierville city limits, we reside in something like a bubble, as do all people fortunate enough to call home most any of the towns of Sevier County. Even visitors to our community can enjoy the “bubble” of safety and sanity for as long as they are tourists here in the East Tennessee Smoky Mountains. Even here, however, things aren’t quite the same as they used to be. When I first moved here 15 years ago, I was surprised to learn that our local paper printed a complete list of every arrest that was made in the county. The weekly summary was rather short, and read something like what the crime blotter would look like for mythical Mayberry, RFD. “Otis” was in the drunk tank again and some kids were arrested for driving without a license. Might be an item for bad check writing or maybe even an actual felony but those were truly rare. Not that the local paper or the police and sheriff’s departments weren’t doing a good job – There just wasn’t that much crime to report or criminals to pursue.
Sadly, the slide that the rest of America has been on is coming (fortunately still in a small way) to the Smokies. We traditionally run about 5-10 years behind the rest of the nation in many ways and that isn’t always a bad thing. Quite the opposite, in this case it is truly a blessing. Nevertheless, the slide does continue and although our local paper still prints all of the arrest records, that weekly summary requires more space and occasionally the crimes aren’t so minor.
In my opinion, because of these trends, now and in the future, gated communities will become more and more attractive. There are real and not so real gated communities in Sevier County and the difference is important. While some communities have gates, they aren’t operable and some never have been for more than just for show. The truly functional gates do provide a real improvement in neighborhood security and thus do add value. Here is a very brief, but by no means comprehensive, list of communities that actually do have truly functional gates:
|Shagbark Entrance Gate (which also has the bonus of a 24 hours a day live gate security guard)|
|The Double Gated Community of The Enclave at Cove Mountain|