Here's another Station Secret! It's about Anchor/Reporter Sharon Smith...
Have you noticed Sharon covers a lot of crime stories and court cases? She’s really good at it (my words – not hers). That’s not her secret though – just my observation.
Her secret is that she has been part of several crime incidents herself. Because of that, she has empathy for crime victims. She understands what the witness feels like and how hard it can be to give details about a crime situation that they had no plans to be part of in the first place.
Back when she and her husband were dating, she was living in Charlotte and they had just gone to a movie at the Manor Theater. They said good-bye and he dropped her off. It wasn’t late – probably around 9:30. She was on her way inside and he walked to his car when two young people ran up to him… put a gun to his head… put their bike in his car… threw him in the backseat… and drove away with him.
Fortunately, they dumped him out of the car after driving around for a little while. He was fine and the car was eventually returned but the memories didn’t just go away for either of them.
Sharon saw the whole thing and called 911. Her big regret is that she didn’t feel like she gave a good description. She felt like she froze. She understands what’s like to see a crime and to have trouble telling the police the exact details.
That was just the first time that car was involved in a crime. The second was after Sharon moved to Columbia, SC. The very same car was stolen. Again, it was returned but not in the same shape as before it was stolen. Fortunately this time, the car was taken but her boyfriend wasn’t.
A few years later, Sharon moved back to Charlotte and was working for WBTV. In fact, she was in the middle of an interview with a criminologist when her phone rang. It was her alarm company. The alarm at her house was going off. She drove home. The police got there first.
Someone had broken in through a glass door. They took the TV and broke some furniture. She thinks that the alarm going off kept the intruders from ransacking the whole house. They got in and out without taking the time to search for anything more valuable.
Her take-away… Have an alarm system – and use it. Always lock the doors and close curtains/blinds when you're gone to conceal certain items. When you get home, look around to see if the house looks like it has been broken in to.
Now, when she goes to court or looks at crime reports, first and foremost, she’s thankful her situations weren’t worse. She’s also aware that crime does happen – to anyone, at any time, anywhere. She also knows that these things are hard to get over.
You don’t have someone violate part of your life and then just go back to your regular routine the next day.
She also decided she would never freeze again. She says everyone should be more aware of their surroundings.
If you don’t feel good about a situation, look around. Notice details. Get tag numbers. Notice the make and model of a car and get the tag number. Really get a good look at a person you think may be up to no good.
What color are their eyes, hair, clothes? How tall are they? Do they have a distinguishing feature?
None of these things made her get into court reporting but they do make her a better reporter.
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