This is how Neighborhood Watch works
Most of the time we don’t discuss “Success Stories”. However, some of the reports filed this past Friday involved me personally so I hope that no one minds if I make an exception. As I mentioned in my previous post, my wife’s car was broken into last Thursday night. They took her purse, wallet and two cell phones. After calling the police, I filed a report on Nation of Neighbors and checked my email. Sure enough, we weren’t the only ones in the area who had been hit – there were some other local reports – a stolen package, cars broken into and a stolen dirt bike. The beauty of it was that the reports created a walking path – it was easy to see that the criminals were likely on foot. We live in a rural area and, knowing that thieves who steal purses don’t like to be seen carrying them for long, I grabbed my camera and went for a walk.
It didn’t take long to find footprints in the grass along the side of the road that led to a box they had swiped from a neighbor’s car. They had ripped the box open as they walked and, thanks to the pieces they left behind and their footprints in the tall grass, it was easy to tell which direction they went next. I continued to follow their trail into the woods and, before long I found a receipt with my wife’s name on it. A little more searching revealed her purse, wallet and other belongings thrown into the woods. They had gone through everything looking for cash but had no use for the pennies, which they threw on the ground.
I continued to follow their trail and collected some additional property that did not belong to me and eventually located the missing dirtbike at the bottom of a small ravine next to a road. I called the sheriff’s office. We recovered the dirtbike (which was towed to the Sheriff’s Office until the owner could come claim it) and I returned the other items I found to their owners. Thanks to some alert neighbors there are suspects and the police are following up.
The only item of ours unaccounted for is an older iPod nano – I hope they enjoy Bluegrass and the Nation of Neighbors video we had saved on it.
I know that most incidents don’t end so well, whether there’s a Neighborhood Watch or not. However, I think my experience does illustrate some important points:
Don’t leave anything valuable in your car.
When we share the pieces of information we know quickly, we’re able to build a more complete picture of what happened and improve outcomes for everyone. Everyone except the people who stole your stuff.