April 2013
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Officers are busy . . .

Tonight I went for a walk. As I returned home, there were flashlights looking through things on the neighbors porch. The neighbor lost her house, it was posted a couple of days ago and from that day she has 18 days to get any of her belongings out. So, back to the story, she had some things on her porch. A Rubbermaid tote, light bulbs and some other household items. She may not have wanted them. However they were hers to decide if she wanted them or not.

A few months ago, another neighbor lost a shop vacuum of his porch. A couple of weeks ago we has a couple of strangers come through our front gate and look around. It seems like people have not limits to what they will do.

As for the couple rummaging through the items on the neighbors porch. They filled up the Rubbermaid tote with things that they found. I asked them to leave. The excuse was, “Someone was here before we were taking things.” I told them that the items did not belong to them and that they needed to leave the items and go. The woman kept digging saying that the stuff would probably end up in the dump and she was saving room in the landfill. I can hear it now, “Officer, the car parked in front of there house was going to end up in a landfill some day so I thought I would make sure that it did not by taking it.”

I though to myself, it does not matter if the stuff ends up in the landfill, it is not yours to decide. Being a good citizen, and being told by the police to call if there are strangers in the neighborhood causing problems, I chose to call the police non emergency number. The Neighborhood Watch program instructs us to do the same as we have an unofficial Neighborhood Watch going on in the neighborhood.

I gave them the police dispatcher address, the description of the people and the make, model and license plate of the vehicle the woman carried the Rubbermaid tote to with all the things that she had rounded up. The man was going to stay around, but the woman told him that they needed to leave.

He was willing to wait for the police. However, I was told that the officers were busy and could not be there soon. I was also told to call back if they left. The flashlight wielding Rubbermaid tote stealing crew started the truck up and off they went with the Rubbermaid tote full of stolen merchandise. I called the non emergency dispatch number back and let them know that the people had left.

Now that the house next door is vacant, I wonder if there is any reason to call if there are problems. Last time I called there was a woman and a man fighting in a car at the corner. He had hit her in the face a few times. She got out of the car. She took the keys and would not give them back. They argued back and forth for a good 10 minutes. I called the non emergency dispatch number that night as well. Within about 10 minutes she had sat back down in the car and they drove off a few minutes later. They were gone by the time police arrived.

So if someone is snooping around the house, you can call the non emergency dispatch number and they will send someone out when they can. If someone breaks into you home, dialing 911 might be more prudent. However, the same people answer the non emergency call as 911 calls. It all comes down to, are the officers busy or not.

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