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Hey, neighbor

Last night I attended a local crime watch meeting. There was what I considered a decent turnout, probably about 75 people, though less than one of the first meetings, which had close to 200.

Crime, for the most part, has gone down in my neck of the woods. Fortunately, the police caught a daytime burglar last year, which resulted in burglaries dropping from an average of about 31 per month to about 11 per month. What is interesting to me is how the burglar was caught. A woman came home to see a guy getting into a car in her driveway. She was fortunately able to provide a good description of the perp and the car to the 911 operator (more fortunately, the perp just wanted to get away and not hurt her). This information enabled the police to locate the car/perp, although the officer in pursuit at first did lose him. Fortunately again, another resident noticed this car speeding away, so he pulled over on the side of the road and flagged down the officer to let him know in which direction the perp went. In the meantime, the perp ended up in a different neighborhood, where another resident was able to call 911 and give the perp 's location. Soon after, the officers arrived and the perp was caught.

So what did I learn from this story and other things the officer said?

  1. If anything looks suspicious, assume it is and call 911. The officer speaking last night really hit this point. You never know when you might end up stopping a crime from being committed or enable the police to locate a criminal just by your phone call. Call 911 for everything (well, at least that is what we are supposed to do in our community; the police no longer have a non-emergency number).
  2. Pay attention to details as much as you can. Because that woman provided a good description of the car, the police were able to locate it. I did question this point, as I called the police a few months ago to report some people fighting on the street in my neighborhood before a car drove away. I was unable to give any detailed information; I was not about to walk to the scene to get details. But the officer said you should never compromise your safety and that any information you share can be helpful, even if it is a car color, the number of people involved, or the direction they are going in.
  3. Get to know your neighbors. Look out for one another. Know who belongs there and who seems out of place.
I think the lack of neighbors socializing and getting to know people has been a real detriment to society. If you take the time to get to know even a few neighbors, those people can be on the lookout if you are on vacation. After all, most burglaries happen when no one is at home. And if neighbors stick together, there is a good chance criminals will go elsewhere.

One woman spoke about how she was able to describe someone who robbed her neighbor (Or was it a burglary? The former involves force, FYI). This woman ended up testifying against the robber, and to this day, five years later, the woman's neighbor is still grateful to her.

Be careful out there. Be observant. And be a good neighbor!


Sherri said…
Agree wholeheartedly! We feel ok going on vacation because our neighbors do look out for our house... or our kids, for that matter - if we're inside or in the back... all good to know.

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