Neighborhood Watch or effective security and COMMUNITY?

The new signs on Rose (at Charles and Smoke Tree):

My first thought:

There goes the neighborhood!

If I had seen a sign like this when I moved to Lake Mead City in 2000 I would NOT have purchased here.  This is exactly what I was trying to get away from.

I moved here for PRIVACY and to be left alone, not to have the “citizens” spying on me.  How do you define “suspicious?”

Male?  Younger than average?  Long hair? Brown?  Anyone not white and under 60?

I don’t need the cops showing up at my house just because a friend is visiting.

I hate the Patriot Act, the police state that came with it and all the snooping, spying and reporting of “suspicious” activities and people in the cities and at Wal-Mart:

Not to mention that I would NOT have moved into a crime infested neighborhood. 

At the time I lived by myself, I was traveling a lot and I spent the summer in Alaska.

Neighborhood watch signs today, bars on the windows tomorrow …

Of course I’ve noticed that the deputies are now patrolling the dirt roads and I think it’s a GIANT waste of resources.

I recently visited a friend in LMC and a deputy came down the road, slowed down and checked us out — is THAT what everybody wants?

To pay for the added expense (fuel, wear and tear on the vehicles, etc.) , residents may get ticketed for unlicensed water hauling trucks or trailers, having an open beer in the vehicle, etc.

When I first moved here in 2000, there were meetings and petitions being signed to get the deputies to come out to investigate REPORTED CRIMES. I found it hard to believe that there is any place in the US where you report a crime and law enforcement refuses to investigate.   However, in recent years I’ve read many reports of cutbacks and only “major” crimes being investigated.

Many Contra Costa crooks won’t be prosecuted

Of course I want the deputies to come out when somebody has a problem, but I think we need deputies patrolling the desert like we need a hole in the head.

Next there’s a surveillance camera at every corner.  My worst nightmare!

Of course theft is a concern for us too.

A few weeks ago one of our gardening club members went to the doctor and while she was gone somebody had tried to break into her shed.

I hear that a meeting was held at Rick Sherwood’s (running for Mohave County supervisor district 4) home and that it resulted in the signs on Rose.  Since we weren’t invited, I don’t know what was discussed.  But I sure don’t want those Neighborhood Watch signs on MY street.

Obviously, having your NEIGHBORS watch your home while you’re gone is a great start to protect your property. 

But, as we found out during recent burglaries, neighbors don’t continually stare at the home they’re watching.  They sleep, they watch TV and they go out too.

You can take measures MUCH more effective than a sign or a neighbor who obviously is not acting as security guard.  There are NUMEROUS gadgets for around $20 that either notify cell phones (any number you enter), make a lot of noise and video record intruders.

Here’s a $23 gadget that can call a neighbor or your cell phone when someone enters your home or garage:

Streetwise Motion Activated Alarm with Auto Dialer

To avoid false alarms (coyotes, birds, wind), you place it INSIDE your home, garage and/or shed and you only activate it as needed.  When you receive a call with an alert, you can call a neighbor and/or 911 to check out what’s going on.

Since it can take HOURS before a deputy arrives at the property, it’s most important to be able to reach a neighbor who can QUICKLY get to the property with a digital CAMERA to take pictures of vehicles and possibly even people on the property.

And speaking of cameras, right now Amazon has over 50,000 security cameras and accessories.

It’s good to get a thief to leave, but it’s a LOT better to have the video so the deputies can arrest the thieves and we don’t have to worry anymore.

I’m surprised that apparently NONE of the homes that were burglarized had any security gadgets.

Here is a $9.24 door stop that makes a LOUD NOISE:

Smart Home Door Stop Alarm

… The 50246 Door Stop Alarm is extremely compact, so it’s convenient enough to take anywhere. With this handy gadget, you’ll be able to secure your hotel room, dorm room, apartment, or any room in your home. …

Of course you can’t set it when you leave the house, but it’s nice for a back door that your neighbor doesn’t see.

I don’t particularly recommend Amazon, but I like the REVIEWS for their products and you can easily determine a product’s quality and usefulness if you do some reading. And I like their free shipping for many items as well as the Amazon buyer protection. We recently ordered 5 lbs of organic cocoa powder (lowest price on the web) and it was delivered late and the bag had broken open. Within a couple days of submitting my online claim the money was back in my account. I like NO HASSLE REFUNDS!

So check to see what’s available, what works and what doesn’t BEFORE you order!

Forming a local organization to increase security and to provide assistance

And since not everybody has neighbors willing and able to help, it’s an option to form a local organization that you can call if you are alerted to a possible intrusion by one of your gadgets and they’ll send a volunteer to check it out.

I’ve also thought about whether one should offer door stickers (like alarm companies) to put on doors to residents who participate.  My initial thoughts are that I’d rather not.  Thieves will simply look for “unprotected” properties.  It’s very much like carrying guns for protection.   The criminals look for someone unarmed and I really don’t think we want to direct the criminals towards the old and disabled who are unable to defend themselves.

Daily check-in by people who live alone

A gardening club member recently called me about another member who wasn’t at the last meeting and hadn’t answered her cell phone for the reminder call.   Was she ok?  Could we stop by her house and check on her?   Fortunately, we reached her by phone and she was ok.

But it got me thinking about the days when I lived by myself and I was seriously worried about falling off a ladder or something happening to me and nobody would find me for weeks.   I didn’t move to the desert to socialize and would often not go out or talk to any of my neighbors for weeks.

I was worried about my dog.  What if I wake up dead one day? 

What will happen to Butch?  Nobody would let him out and he’d have nothing to eat but me.  Not a pretty thought, but it happens all the time.

I have heard of services where people call in once a day and if the call isn’t received, somebody would call them and if they get no answer, check their house.  One could set up a VM for the regular calls reporting that all is well and a number answered by a person if someone needs assistance.  A little like the 911 operators here who used to volunteer and have radios at their home, but for this service one would only need a cell phone and possibly internet access.

For property protection we obviously would need people answering the phone AT NIGHT.  We wouldn’t mind volunteering one night every ten days or so and the occasional day.

Since arrests have been made for recent burglaries, we shouldn’t have many calls.  I’m not sure whether any of this is necessary, but I’d rather actually do something to help the community than put up signs that indicate that I live in a high crime area.

Please post YOUR thoughts or send us an email if these issues are important to you.

 

3 Responses to Neighborhood Watch or effective security and COMMUNITY?

  1. The Neighborhood Watch signs in question were supplied by the county as they feel they are a helpful crime deterrent; a sign that neighbors are aware of a problem and are willing to be vigilant. I became aware of the Neighborhood Watch program and set up a meeting with the county and immediate neighbors. Several people from other areas asked to attend to gather information to set up similar programs in their areas; however, the focus of my meeting was to establish a line of communication with “immediate” neighbors. The county provides good information and anyone interested can contact Deputy Troy Schmotzer, Civil Division, at (928) 753-0756. Signage is definitely optional. We have had problems with theft in this area and I believe we should do whatever we can to prevent future break-ins. Sounds like you have some good ideas on this subject and I look forward to seeing some of them implemented.

    Barbara Sherwood

  2. Hi Barbara,

    That the county feels that these signs are a crime deterrent doesn’t surprise me. Government at work … I noticed that Anna’s sign is no longer up, so that’s progress in my book.

    The one thing the county SHOULD do is provide more info on crime and arrests. Too many people have nothing else to do but gossip. So I’m waiting for a call from deputy Schmotzer.

    I think we’re very lucky to have so little crime here — despite the lack of decent jobs, cuts in benefits and services, etc. But I do hope that many residents will spend $20 or $30 for one of the security gadgets and if anyone starts burglarizing homes again, they’ll be caught quickly.

    Christine

  3. I just left another VM for deputy Schmotzer, hope he’ll call me back as he never answers his phone.

    Anna’s CRIME sign is back up and we’re back to locking the doors when we get to Rose so we don’t get car-jacked.

    Sarcasm aside, having the area declared HIGH CRIME by these obnoxious signs is exactly what we needed to scare the few potential buyers away.

    Good job!

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