Thursday, December 24, 2009

Grinch Alert!

What a wonderful time of year.....

The houses are all trimmed ... outside and in
The presents are teeming ... that Santa brought in
The burglars are greedy ... and don't really care
Into your house ... they surely will dare

In through the garage ... or window ajar
Searchin for treasure ... to getaway in a car
Peeping high and low ... while you're in the yard
Old Rover is nappin' ... not much of a guard

They found the Ipod ... the Iphone and cash
Out thru the door ... in a great big ol' dash
Your neighbor was watching ... and wrote down with great care
Their car type, their description ... and the color of their hair

On to the phone .. calling La Quinta's finest
"911" answered the operator ... her voice was the kindest
"They stole Christmas, They're getting away" ... you did utter
"They jumped in a car" ... your heart all aflutter

"It was new and blue ... and the door had a dent"
"They got the neighbors cash ... and presents they'd been sent"
"We're on our way, don't worry ... please stay on the line"
The officers were dispatched ... and wasted no time

They caught the burglars ... returning the presents and cash
We rejoiced and regaled ... we threw quite a bash
Neighborhood Watch had won ... and proved hands down
By Gosh and By Golly ... "There's a new Santa in town"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seasons Greetings!

Just a short note to extend all the best of the holiday season to you and your family. We have so much to be thankful for in this day and age ... and state of the economy. We all have our lists and when you check yours, please add our brave young men and women overseas and our veterans that preceded them.

Security Tips #continued

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Minimize your likelihood of being targeted. There is no single answer to being safe - just suggestions. The best tool is your ingenuity. Be thoughtful and be creative - stay ahead of the 'Dark Side".

Keep an open view of your property. Mature trees should be trimmed about 6 feet from the ground. Keep shrubs/bushes cut low and trees trimmed, to avoid hiding places. Remember earlier tips, motion-sensored lighting is a fantastic deterrent. Burglars would have to freeze for long durations in order to try and fool the sensor - by then, you and your neighbors should have figured out something is going on....and certainly the neighbor's dog(s) will provide an assist.

Be involved in your neighborhood so you know what is happening in your neighborhood. Programs such as Neighborhood Watch and Disaster/Emergency Preparedness can save your life and property. Get on the neighborhood email list.

Know your neighbors and have them keep a watch on your property as you keep a watch on theirs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Safety and Security - Tip #6, 7 and 8

Regarding window security, if the PVC pipe isn't desirable for you or doesn't work on your window(s), consider thumb screw channel locks on all your windows, horizontal and vertical alike. Once in position, remove locks and drill a 1/8 inch hole, just a little, at the mark the thumb screw made, thus allowing the thumb screw to slightly enter the frame work. Install a two-thumb screw lock in for your sliding doors.

Exterior Lighting-Some people want to light up the whole exterior of their house as this gives them a sense that they can see everything or that maybe burglars would feel apprehensive about breaking in, Well.... daylight doesn't prevent them from their nefarious activities, why should a light? Law enforcement officers advise that Motion Sensored lighting is best as if the light is on - someone or something made that happen - if the light is off - someone is frozen like a statue or no one is there. Constant lighting doesn't give you this so consider changing your exterior lighting.

Interior Lighting - Sam's club carries a 3 pack of plug-in night light/flash light combinations for under $6.00 plus tax. The are L.E.D. lights and take hardly any electricity at all. Imagine what you'd be willing to pay if you needed a light and didn't have it. You can navigate throughout the house with the nightlight feature; however, if the power goes out or a circuit break occurs, these little dynamos are charged sufficiently to guide you through the darkness of night, inside or out, safely.

Keep the faith!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Safety and Security - Tip #5

Having lived at your home for some time, you may have already identified a means of adding security to your sliding windows and doors; however, consider the following:

Put heavy duty PVC pipe dowels in all your sliding windows and doors. PVC pipe is low cost, white - to match your windows and sliding doors, easy to cut and you can easily just sand the markings off unless you just turn the markings to the bottom.

PVC pipe (450 psi) is heavy duty, thick and solid. For most windows, a 3/4 inch pipe will do the job. For sliding glass doors, the 1 inch circumference pipe is better. A standard section of PVC pipe measures 10 feet and is available in the plumbing section of your favorite hardware store is generally under $5.00 (You might also find small lengths). Either of the two big name stores locally may cut it for free to allow you to get it into your vehicle or you can bring along a hacksaw and do it yourself. If you do make a cut, have it cut or pay to have several cuts done... be prepared and have the measurements available - 3/4 inch pipe measures 1 inch outside diameter and 1 inch pipe measures 1 1/4 inch outside diameter, which would be the size of wood dowels for the same job. “Measure twice – cut once”. Upon returning home with the pipe and newly acquired sandpaper, you can have this little chore done in no time at all.

Imagine the great night sleep after that or better a more comfortable shopping expedition the next time you go out.

Keep the faith!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter is imminent but it feels like it's here tonight!

Time changes, Weather changes, etc... are always great times to remind ourselves to be prepared for anything. The prudent person is wise to prepare the family and household for anything Mother Nature dishes out. Storms or earthquakes can certainly cause a loss of power but depending on the severity you might consider going to the American Red Cross link below to find a list of pertinent topics. You might consider reading through, printing the criteria and suggestions that are important to you and your family and putting them in your preparedness pack. When something happens, it will be too late to look it up, read it and print it... There really is a lot of good material to review:

At a minimum you should consider: 1) updating your first aid kit; 2)make sure you have a battery powered radio, flashlights for everyone in the household and an extra one plus plenty of batteries; 3) Food and plenty of water-at least a gallon of water per person per day-how many days (?) we're all guessing on that one. I'd suggest getting plenty and just rotating it so it's always fresh. and keep an eye on the dates on any canned foods (Did you remember a can opener in your pack?); and 4) extra clothes or blankets are a great idea too!

These are just a few thoughts shared to remind you to be prepared. You might consider a family meeting to discuss what else would help you to be prepared.. How about new surge protectors for your household electronic equipment, etc...

Keep the faith!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Textbook Neighborhood Watch Action

Below you will find an article from the La Quinta Sun Police Blotter of 12/3/09. It describes a neighbor who heard his dog barking and as he goes outside, he witnesses people leaving his neighbor's property. He called out to them and they fled in a waiting car. He apparently followed a bit and was able to get a partial license plate to report to the police. Bingo! They were apprehended a short while later. This is outstanding.... Hear or See something, check it out, write it down and call the police. Again, this was not in Desert Pride but I'm sure that many of us wish the neighbor was.... This is not to say you (reading this) wouldn't do the same, merely that this person actually did....just like our neighbor who spotted the individual stealing our Neighborhood Watch signs. This, too, was outstanding! Anyway, here's the story from the paper.......

4 boys detained for burglary of residence
Nov. 26, 10:15 a.m. — Officers responded to an attempted residential burglary occurring at 78-600 Villeta Drive.

The incident was reported by the neighbor who heard his dog barking. Upon exiting his home, he observed two men leaving his neighbor's rear yard. The neighbor called out to the suspects who ran to a waiting black Mercedes Benz and fled the scene.
The neighbor followed the suspects to Fred Waring Drive, where he was able to retrieve a partial license plate number. An officer responding to the area spotted a vehicle matching the description. He stopped the vehicle in the Kohl's parking lot and detained four boys who were subsequently arrested on suspicion of attempted residential burglary.

Keep the faith!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Safety and Security - continued

This current tip might cost a little but what price can you put on a combination of comfort with safety and security?

For any doors to the exterior of your home that have screens or that you are contemplating installing screens doors on... Ensure that the screens have a minimum of a 900 pound test resistance. Such doors are recommended as a safety factor when a stranger comes to your door - you can keep that door closed and locked while talking with them. If not adding security screen doors, have a full security strike plate with 3 inch screws in your door frame for all your door locks. Forced door entry is easy with the original strike plate and short screws, with door frames being broken.

Keep the faith!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Safety Tips 1-3

The following is a short list in a series of tips to be provided. These are things the prudent owner/landlord might do. I offer them for your consideration. Implementation can be costly but you might sleep better at night and in some situations actually save money in the long run...

1. When you purchase a property you should consider immediately changing all the
locks, garage codes, etc.. even if the home is brand new.

2. If the property is a rental, you should immediately change all locks and garage
codes when the tenant vacates.

3. You or your tenant might sleep better if you were to have a good burglar alarm
system installed with contacts on all doors and windows - no matter how small or
high (include fire sensor); also include sensors behind the outside panels
covering the telephone and cable system. Ask your installer to add security
screws to these panels. Consider at least two motion detection sensors, such as
in the master bedroom and main living area; also consider installing a second or
backup alarm siren, maybe in your garage. Post your current Security Company's
signs at your home and add stickers to the windows - remove old/outdated signs
and stickers. Ensure you include your cell phone number one of the emergency
contact numbers the alarm company calls and finally ensure you provide detailed
information to your insurance company of your alarm system for the appropriate
rate discount.

This is a good start if it's in your affordability bracket. Maybe you can accomplish these and future tips yourself or even in stages as funding becomes available. In any event, I hope you find them helpful and as always...

Keep the faith!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hallelujah - The signs are here

You've read and/or heard of the trials and tribulations involving the signage alerting the world that the residents of Desert Pride are watching them come and go in the development (We Are Watching ~ We Were Watching).

Someone has been intent on proving how sneaky and scornful they are by destroying the signage posted about the development. Most recently 6 new signs were replaced on Monday, November 16th and within 3 hours they had disappeared. That would bring the total to 44 signs that have gone missing to date. This City is not paying for these. This has continually been very upsetting considering this extraordinary waste of time, effort and expense but unfortunately it's been the trend that must be dealt with and can only be handled by not giving up. Patience and committing to the safety, welfare and education of the Desert Pride residents has paid off ~ There is great news.

Over a number of months, a plan has been in place to replace the permanent Neighborhood Watch signs at the Ingress and Egress points in Desert Pride with new signs from the National Sheriff's Association which have higher visibility and include the non-emergency phone number to call and report suspicious activity. In addition to replacing the existing signs on the Ingress side, new posts with signs will be installed on the Egress side.

The city has not paid for the signs but has agreed to install them. When an order is placed with The National Sheriff's Association, they will process it but will only deliver the signs to a municipality. This has occurred. The City of La Quinta has received the signs and installation should commence tomorrow Thursday, November 19, 2009.

It would seem the sign thief will have to take up a new sport so please keep an eye on my house and yard and I promise to do the same for you. Remember to keep paper and pen handy and the non-emergency phone number is 1(760) 836-3215 Ext 5.

Keep the faith!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The beat goes on......

In the past couple of weeks, I have met so many of our fellow neighbors by going door to door. My intent is to continue this effort to ensure everyone, including those returning for the season, are aware of the neighborhood watch. This is not because I am bored...but it seems imperative to ensure the word is being spread about the neighborhood watch effort. Not everyone reads everything that comes in the mail and I'm no exception to that.

By now, I would hope that you've seen the yellow and black signs at the ingress and egress points alerting all who enter and leave Desert Pride that their activities are being monitored - "We are watching ~ We were watching". (After conversing with those on my outings, I am please to announce that so many of you do a great job) You know by word of mouth or reading earlier blogs that our signs were targeted by thieves and vandals and even some of our own neighbors complained about them (according to the Code Compliance Dept.) so the City had pulled them even after full notification of their existence and the intent, presentation for review and compliance with municipal code and indication of intended placement, and let's not forget authorization of the 6 property owners where they were placed. The complete background of the signs can be reviewed in earlier blogs so I won't bore you. I prefer to update you.

The effort continues with the signs as the City has now acknowledged that any private citizen(s) can place a sign on their property so long as it conforms under the provisions of the Municipal Code. The signs went back up only to be removed again by someone???? The line of thinking is that there are 3 possibilities:

a) The person who was arrested for tampering with the signs continues to do so out of spite or the friends he was visiting in Desert Pride are doing so out of sore feelings for his being caught; or

b) Other young people are doing it either en route to or from school or during the afternoon and evenings when out and about with friends. Some signs have been tagged (gang-type writing to identify property/existence) which is being analyzed by the police. The police have recognized a pattern and maybe be able to narrow down the area that this person(s) lives in the development; or

c) A resident who has been a victim of break-in(s) has decided that Neighborhood Watch can't help him/them. This may even be the person(s) who called the City or who writes negative things on the signs placed throughout the Development. This acting out against an effort like Neighborhood Watch is likened to a soldier in battle getting shot and then punching the guy next to him because he got shot. This is difficult to understand. We are all on the same team. No one wants anybody to suffer a loss anymore than they want to suffer a loss themselves. The goal is to maintain a good or better quality of life and ensure that Desert Pride continues to be a highly desirable our property values as high as possible.

The yellow and black signs have been a fill-in awaiting new signs from the National Sheriff's Association. The new signs, approved by the City (in fact they will be installing them in the near futur) will replace the existing sings on the Ingress side and will be newly added to the Egress side. The new 'Blue Eye' signs will contain the non-emergency phone number for reporting issues, as everyone knows 911.

In the meantime, I have just received the newest batch of yellow and black signs so until the new 'Blue Eye' signs go up....keep your eyes and ears open and paper and pen in a convenient place............the beat goes on.....

Keep the faith!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Prevention is a good thing but let's be real .....

Walking around Desert Pride recently, I spotted a lot of old yard signs and window decals for Home Security companies that no longer exist. A lot of signs have been moved by landscapers or may be half-hidden by brush, fallen down or been knocked down. Kind of reminds me of the bad habits regarding our personal security we can get into sometimes, including me...but those I'll write about another day.

If you have a Home Security system, this is probably not interesting to you but it should be because you wouldn't be the first home broken into that has a security system. It's not fool-proof. Most don't have alarms loud enough to alert neighbors. They ring at the service company's office-Great! If you're not home to get the call asking if everything is OK, what good has that done you. By the time the company alerts police to respond, most thieves are in-out-gone. If your service is by a company that bought or merged with another company or simply changed it's name, you should do whatever it takes to get new signs and numerous decals/stickers AND put them in conspicuous places. Your first line of defense is putting the would-be-robbers) on notice that you have an up-to-date, operating system. If your landscaper moves the signs and doesn't move them back - chew him out. You pay for the service and you want everyone to know it's there.

If you purchased a house that is equipped but the system is not actively monitored by a company (You've been meaning to call...) and you still have signs, etc... especially signs with out-dated names on them or maybe you don't even have a system so you bought some signs on EBay... - Guess what? - Criminals Read Too!!!!!

You may want to explore realistic options to improve security for you and the family.

Keep the faith!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What is "Neighborhood Watch"?

Neighborhood Watch is a crime prevention program which enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime in their communities. It involves:
a) Getting to know your neighbors
Nobody is expected to become best friends overnight but just a modicum of communication can result in a mutual interest in protection for the benefit of all. Think about circling the wagons…Interesting thought…protection at its best. It might be the Grandfather of ‘Neighborhood Watch’.
b) Recognizing and reporting suspicious activities
If you see something – Sure – Call it in! Dial 911 if it’s an emergency or the non-emergency number is 1(760) 836-3215 Ext 5. At the bare minimum, write down what you saw in the event the police contact you at a later date for information. You’ll have your notes to rely on in assisting the investigation- descriptions, vehicle make, model, color, year, and license plate….anything else you can think of. Where were they, what were they doing, why did you think it was strange….
c) Implementing home protection techniques like installing a security system, upgrading your exterior lighting to include motion-sensor functioning. A big, bright light is not necessarily the answer. All lit or no lights at all, someone can still hide. The police and sheriffs say that motion sensors prove to be more effective. If the light is on, chances are that someone is probably there while no light should mean no problem. Consider upgrading the locks on your doors-ever heard of a bump key? Work something out with your neighbor if you’re going to be away for a few days. Grab your mail, move the garbage cans, pickup the newspaper…. These things are beacons for criminals that you are probably not home.
The goals of the Desert Pride Neighborhood Watch are:
a) Meeting neighbors and making friends;
b) Protect your family and property;
c) Keep an eye out for the neighborhood;
d) Get organized to lessen the opportunities available to others to commit a crime on our person, property or that of our neighbors;
e) Establish a presence and gain an identity in La Quinta; and
f) Have a voice in La Quinta.

Keep the faith!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Print & put it into your emergency preparedness pack

Federal, State and local links to numerous governmental, police and legal agencies

Home Security Audit Checklist

City of La Quinta Residents page for easy access to City of La Quinta website

Emergency Preparedness information to protect you and your family in an emergency

Contact information for utilities, schools, hospitals...

If you copy this and put it into your Emergency Preparedness pack, you'll have a chance of contacting various places via cellphone if your power is out and both your internet connection and home phone line goes down. I hope you never need it but it'd be nice to have if you did.

Keep the faith!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Here's a salute to a fun site within Desert Pride

Now here's group of folks with spirit and a zest for life....

Keep the faith!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Here's a link to the website

There was some excellent information in this little website. It was actually a free personal page from my Time Warner/Roadrunner account. It allowed me to disseminate some information,links, etc... but proved to be too small for continued use, archiving,interactive use, etc... So, the next move was to this blog - another free vehicle to disseminating information.

FYI the email address is:

Keep the faith!

Here's the original mailing of the Neighborhood Watch

Neighborhood Crime Watch information for Residents of Desert Pride

The Community Policing Office in La Quinta on Avenida Bermudas was dedicated in 2003 Accessing the website, one can obtain a great amount of useful information: (They've since opened a new, closer office off Dune Palms behind the now-closed skating rink.)

Our police call this subdivision “Desert Pride”. The area designated on their map is: LA 40C1 (Four Oh Charlie One)

They are a fount of information and a recent visit and phone call produced some terrific information and might explain the “Neighborhood Crime Watch” signs at the entrances on Miles & Adams.

Neighborhood watch is a crime prevention program which enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with law enforcement to reduce crime in their communities. It involves:

a) getting to know your neighbors like when you were a kid
b) working together to recognize and report suspicious activity
c) implementing prevention techniques like home security, etc…

Did you know that a simple little thing like putting your garbage cans out too early OR not bringing them in the day of pickup OR even letting papers and solicitation flyers collect in the front of the house can be a welcome beacon to burglars that might have an interest in your personal property. Do you have garage door openers in your vehicles parked in the driveway or on the street? The police say this practice makes it real easy for someone to get from your car to your garage and then into the house and it has occurred locally.

Think about what you can do to improve your and your neighbors’ security.
Watch out for the neighborhood. Look both ways when you walk to the mailbox-you might see something suspicious or a neighbor to wave to.

Think about what we can do to make this a better area, which can be an added value. We can create desire to be in this development which should benefit us all. Here’s some interesting material for you:

Keep the faith!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

City pulls signs after Resident complaints

For some time now, there has been an attempt to bolster the presence of Neighborhood Watch. I don't think it necessary to explain why as it's been covered in meetings at our park, the website site and in earlier blogs. All the while, crime continues in our wonderful little development.

The most recent attempt to open the eyes, ears and phone lines of not only the residents but also the criminals, was the posting of signs on both sides of the three ingress/egress points at Coldbrook, Bayberry and Woodberry for a total of six signs- We are Watching (as they entered) and We Were Watching (as they left).

The signs started disappearing and were continually replaced as quickly as possible. This continued time after time until,as I've written before, a culprit was arrested thanks to the action of a caring neighbor - a Neighborhood Watch heroine. As quickly as possible, the signs were replaced, yet again they started disappearing. A call was placed to the Code Compliance department who responded that they had not pulled any signs. With these new events, the La Quinta Police Department staked out the signs at various times attempting to apprehend the newest perpetrator to no avail. When out of the blue and as if a tornado swept me up, I received a call from City Hall telling me that Code Compliance had pulled the signs because of complaints received from residents. WOW! I want to say that I can't imagine anyone would object to their neighbors trying to find another means of protecting them and their property but there is one thing I've learned in my years here on the Blue Planet - Never say Never !!!

A number of residents have commented that it's impossible. How could anyone object to putting criminals on notice. A number have also commented that the City may be covering up for the actions of the City-contracted landscapers or even Compliance Officer(s) who were unaware of the interaction of the Neighborhood Watch and the City and pulled the signs. A number, like me, are just finding it incomprehensible that any resident would not want as much attention as possible, without searchlights, balloons and a clown, brought to the attention of the criminals entering and leaving our development looking for an opportunity or planning what they had just scoped out;however, it is possible.

If there is truly one or more residents that have comments/suggestions/request, this is an open invitation to you: Please make them known Positive or Negative all are welcome That is the way we can become better, stronger and more unified in our goals. The email is one way: or this blog is another as anyone can review your thoughts or even my phone 1-760-610-3245 (Remember we have to start dialing the area code soon).

There must be a way to make this a safer place for us and our property (we've worked too hard to acquire it not to maximize protection) and maybe it's not just signs but more action from us all and OR a combination of the two - that sounds better doesn't it? (Note: The City returned the signs they pulled).

In any event, the effort will continue. Help is most welcome-as always

Keep the faith!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Put your car keys beside your bed at night

Tell your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your parents,
your Dr's office, the check-out girl at the market, everyone you run across.
Put your car keys - or even the extra key fob - beside your bed at night.

If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in your house,
just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until either you turn it off or the car battery dies.

Next time you come home for the night and you start to put your keys away,
think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it.

It will go off from most everywhere inside your house or backyard and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key fob chain. It should also work whether you park in your driveway or garage.

If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break into your house,
odds are the burglar/rapist won't stick around. After a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.

And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot.
The alarm can work the same way there. This is something that should really be shared with everyone. Maybe it could save a life or a sexual abuse crime. Think or yourself, your spouse, your kids, your parents, your Neighbor or a stranger in trouble....

SEND THIS TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW because it's a fantastic and simple idea. Could be useful for any emergency, such as a heart attack, where you can't reach a phone........

Make sure you try it from different areas of the house so you know if it and when it works... You don't have to try it from all spots today or tonight but over a few days- be kind to your neighbors-and then tell them what you did- They'll be very happy you did and so will you.

This tip came from your friendly "Neighborhood Watch Guy"

Keep the faith!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I do not hate my neighbor's dog that barks.....

A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion. ~Washington Irving, adapted from a verse in the Bible

Keep the faith!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"We were watching" and we meant it !!!!

An effort was made to kick-start the ol' Neighborhood Watch commencing in Feb '09. We've had some mailings, we've had some meetings and we had some signs made. Things were really starting to look up. Residents started taking notice, relating information about past efforts and showing keen interest in doing something to make this a better place to be for all of us; however, the crimes didn't seem to go diminish and things started to turn bleak when the new signs started disappearing. First one at a time and after a while two at a time... until one night someone took them all.... Disgruntled Resident, Kids or Sign Nazis?? What the heck is going on?? Well, it took some time for the most recent batch of signs to be made and they were finally replaced almost 2 weeks in the same areas as previously placed, where they remained for a few days until the culprit realized that there was space on their wall that was not yet covered... Again they acted, taking 3 of the 6 and mangling the 4th. It was during this 'mangling' action that one of our well-read and prepared residents witnessed the event, wrote down the license number of the car plus description of the perpetrator and reported it to La Quinta's finest. The perpetrator was identified and an arrest has been made. Hurray for Desert Pride! This is just one small victory but it is a HUGE stepping stone for us all. Keep a pad and pencil handy and another in the glove compartment (Do we still use these?) If you see anything hinky (Something as yet undefinable is wrong, out of place; not quite right), write it down and call the non-emergency number 1-760-836-3215 x5 Tell them what you saw and that you'd like an officer/deputy to investigate it.IT WORKS!! Keep the faith!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hello World

This is a second internet-related attempt at reaching more of my neighbors here in Desert Pride. The first was provided by Time Warner through a personal page that can be seen in the link This site still carries content particular to what Neighborhood Watch is all about including notes from the initial meeting in February 2009, photos and other relevant data. Those in attendance enjoyed a tremendous presentation by Office-Tom Fowler.

The second meeting in May 2009 was equally informative including a highly informative presentation made by Anthony Moreno - the Guru of Code Compliance, a division of Building and Safety for the City of La Quinta. He provided each of us in attendance a better understanding of our Municipal Codes allowing us to avoid entering into and/or reporting any nuisance conditions prior to them becoming a detriment to our community. We must keep in mind the importance in maintaining our property values and bringing added value where and when we can, especially in these economic times. We have to remain proactive because like a dirty window, it doesn't get clean because you want it to be clean. You have to put forth the effort to wash and maintain it. The same concept applies to property values. Unless you maintain the property, no one else will be able to see the value in it.

Desert Pride Neighborhood Watch came into being a number of years ago when a select group of our Desert Pride residents appealed to the City of La Quinta for help. The appeal was successful and the City installed Neighborhood Watch signs at each of the entrances to the "development with no identity" (some call it Desert Pride, some call it Marbella II, the police dept. calls it 4OC1 - Four-Oh-Charlie-One and the rest don't know what to call it). There was some effort given to get the Neighborhood Watch started but sputtered and then became inactive when key residents moved out of the area.

Early on in 2009, a need was identified. It was apparent that protection of our home and property was going to be more important than ever. The country continued into an economic nose-dive and timing for a turn around is nowhere in the foreseeable future unless you know something that no one else knows. Jobs were being lost. Homes were being lost. The future was becoming more bleak for some many Americans. It's hard enough to provide for oneself or family these days but with times becoming more dire with each passing day, expectations of being able to survive becomes more and more scary and near impossible for many. So,in addition to the people who normally conduct nefarious activities, we could probably start to see, hear and experience individuals and/or family members in cash-strapped situations doing things out of character in an attempt to get through the day or provide for their family until they can find a job to replace the one they recently lost.

While our hearts go out to these people, we must understand that we have to protect ourselves our property and that of our fellow residents. The Neighborhood Watch can help us and all we have to do is change a few reactionary things. Neighborhood Watch is a program that enlists the active participation of residents in cooperation with local law enforcement to reduce crime in their communities. Neighborhood Watch involves getting to know your neighbors, working together to recognize and report suspicious activity and implementing prevention techniques like home security, etc…Did you know that a simple little thing like putting your garbage cans out too early OR not bringing them in the day of pickup OR even letting papers and solicitation flyers collect in the front of the house can be a welcome beacon to burglars that might have an interest in your personal property. Do you have garage door openers in your vehicles parked in the driveway or on the street? The police say this practice makes it real easy for someone to get from your car to your garage and then into the house and it has occurred locally.

If you see a crime being committed call 911 immediately but if you see some suspicious activity ensuing or someone comes to your door uninvited for any reason (and they do not possess a permit to do so from the City of La Quinta Code Compliance Division) you should a)Call the Police Non-emergency number (760) 836-3215 using option 5 and ask them to investigate - this can be an anonymous call b) Call a neighbor or friend and tell them what you experienced c) Write down the description of people, clothing, cars, license numbers and, if possible, the direction they were headed d) all of the above. This really isn't a test but rather a list of all the possibilities there are to help you, your neighbor and the police now or in the future to help protect us all. The best of course is to call the non-emergency and the police will roll out a car as soon as possible and the timing will be dependent on the nature of the call and priority compared to actual crimes or calls underway. The other option will help you relate or recall information in the event investigators approach you after a crime has been committed seeking information to solve the case.

Recently we have had a few more than usual break-ins. Some of the perpetrators were caught and some were not. We can help ourselves by doing just a few small things. If you hear something strange or the dogs are barking, take a peek out the window. If your or your neighbors motion-sensor lights are coming on, that means someone is around (unless it is an unusually windy evening-consider this). If someone knocks on your door and you aren't expecting anyone - Do Not Open The Door - Tell them to leave and that you are calling the Police. Peek out the window if you can for their description or car's make/model/license. You know when you get that feeling that something feels strange - Call the Police (760) 836-3215 #5 or Call a friend. If we are a little more diligent we can make this a better place for all of us to live.

Cooler weather is in our future! Here's to surviving another summer in the 'Gem of the Desert'

Keep the faith!