A month ago, I was present at a regular meeting of concerned citizens that takes place at the Boring Fire Station on the first Tuesday of each month. I only meant to stay for the social hour prior to the meeting. However, the speakers who were from Clackamas County law enforcement, and they were very interesting, so I stayed for the entire evening.
The subject was criminal activity and/or supposed criminal activity in our neighborhoods and how we, as residents, can handle it. Much stress was put on well-run systems of Neighborhood Watch. As most of us know, gone are the days of blissfully trusting all of our neighbors and assuming that the people going in and out of the house a block away – the one with the For Rent sign – are redecorating it!We, who care about our safety and want our children to be able to play in our front yards, need to be aware. We need to be watchful. We cannot afford to assume. Thus, getting to really know neighbors by verbal communication is very important. Noting work schedules and daily coming and going add up to a more secure awareness.
Getting everyone together even if it means driving down a country road, instead of walking down a sidewalk, is vital. Neighbors are usually concerned about the same thing; safety and each other. Organize and then meet at each other’s houses at least once a month depending on concerns. This can be a social time where people get to know each other and share ideas.
Mutual safety concerns should be the agenda. If there is a home for rent in the neighborhood try to contact the owner and have them present at the meeting. This would be a way to know what to expect. If there is a neighborhood park, organize an ever-changing unobtrusive patrol. If there is a school in your neighborhood, find out what safety measures they already have in place. Find out if you, as parents, can help.
As to your own property, what are the deterrents to invasive activity? Obviously, dogs, fences, security systems noted by signs, and lights – lots of lights. Both officers mentioned the value of night lights and plenty of them. Locks of course – and maybe a sign denoting an active, informed neighborhood watch. Any suspicious comings and goings from a vacant property should be known immediately to all surrounding neighbors, the police, and even the fire department. Then, do what they say to do. Be aware that even the authorities have rules they have to follow. If taken seriously, an active neighborhood watch will work that way.