What can be done about all of the property crime up and down the valley? I figure it’s a symptom of the rampant drug use around here.
Rehabilitation and prosecution for those who prey on citizens to support their habit is fine and good, as well as programs to keep people off drugs in the first place.
Those solutions, however, can’t keep up with the hoards taking to the streets. Any prosecutor can tell you that those who go in for property crimes come back out soon enough, oftentimes to their same, criminal ways.
The police are spread too thin to be in every neighborhood. If I stayed on that subject, I would have to dive into all kinds of political gibberish.
Bottom line: The police are not enough to keep us and our possessions safe. We need to help ourselves.
I’m going to throw out a few items I’ve heard or learned from personal experience.
I’m not going to tell you to lock your doors or not keep your valuables in your car. If you are one of those who won’t lock your door because you shouldn’t have to, don’t cry to me when the real world comes calling.
Often, thieves case a home – or a whole neighborhood, in swarms – by walking right up to a door and knocking. If someone answers, the thieves are ready with a reason for knocking. If nobody answers, they gain entry.
I used to have an awful neighbor. He would shoot marbles at my dogs with a wrist rocket, dump garbage on our property and put roofing nails under our tires. The cops couldn’t do a whole lot. So what did they tell me to do? Put up a No Trespassing sign!
A person walking on your property isn’t grounds to raise Cain. But a No Trespassing sign makes it an issue to which the police can easily respond. Shady salespeople and lost puppy seekers cannot legally enter your property when it’s clear they are not welcome.
My awful neighbor spray painted my signs, by the way. What a guy.
So what if the neighbor next door really did lose a puppy? GET TO KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS! Back in the day, people kept an eye on each other’s kids and properties.
It’s springtime! Say hello to the guy clipping the hedge next door! Maybe get a phone number. Know who belongs in your neighborhood, and who doesn’t. Set up a block watch. Have a block party!
Dogs are great deterrents. They are protective of their people. And they are as good as an alarm at letting their people know something’s going on.
My grandbaby dog, Macy, is big and loud. If you decide to enter our house and she doesn’t think you should be there, she will make you sorry.
When Macy barks, I won’t immediately quiet her down. If it lasts more than the time it takes for a kid to walk across the front of my property, I’ll check around.
On the internet, there are ways that people are sharing information to curb the crime in their neighborhoods.
Crimemapping.com is a website where you can get specific crime information in your neighborhood. You can click on a police department and it will give you locations and types of crimes to which they’ve recently responded. You can even set it to alert you regarding recent crimes within your neighborhood.
Another website that intrigues me is Nextdoor.com. It is a central website that allows citizens to form neighborhood groups. One person sets a neighborhood boundary and invites neighbors to join. Then those neighbors can interact with each other.
I didn’t finish creating a Nextdoor site because it requests an awful lot of personal information to get started. I’m not keen on giving that out, no matter how secure a site says it is. So, I went to Facebook and asked what others thought. I received several responses, almost all of them positive.
Deb Rakow, a “huge advocate for Nextdoor.com,” wrote, “I started our Nextdoor neighborhood two years ago and am still the lead. Our neighborhood uses it extensively for information sharing, garage sale info, requesting help from neighbors, safety/prowler concerns, group buys for things like septic maintenance, neighborhood events, etc….It is very secure.”
Ruth Shapovalov responded with another idea. Her neighborhood created a closed Facebook group, inviting only residents of their immediate area. I’m leaning toward that.
“You Had Me at Monroe” and “Sultan, WA” are Facebook groups that touch on local crimes, as well as having a lot of other interesting information. Two local Facebook groups that that deal more directly with crime are the “Monroe Burglary Watchdog Group” and “East Snohomish County Community Awareness Group.”
Snohomish County provides an excellent page on their website with tips for keeping your home, business and family safe. Go to http://wa-snohomishcounty.civicplus.com/289/Crime-Prevention.
Do not discount your local police! They can do nothing unless we inform them. If you see a guy walking down the street, paying a little too much attention to the parked cars there, or if anything just isn’t right in the neighborhood, the police want to hear from you.
Debbie Willis, spokesperson for the Monroe Police Department, told me, “Our city is six square miles. Our response time is really pretty fast.”
Even if you don’t make that call, there is no reason not to jot down a license plate number, a physical description, anything that may be valuable later.
If your home or vehicle has ever been entered without your consent, the loss goes far beyond a few stolen trinkets or the cost of fixing a broken doorjamb. It goes right to the core of your peace and security and concern for loved ones.
Take care of yourself. Take care of your neighbors. Help the police, and utilize them.
Be part of the solution.
Kathie Savelesky is the Office Manager of the Monroe Monitor.