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 http://home.rr.com/desertpride. 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!