I was called by a neighbor today who told me that one of the houses down the street was broken into yesterday. The two people who live there ran into town for 1/2 hour. It was during this time that someone broke into their house by breaking a window. They have a gate that is always closed whether they are home or not. It's still easy to climb over the fence to get onto the property, someone just can't drive on. If they were only gone for 1/2 hour then whoever broke into the house was watching the house and knew exactly when they left. A half hour is the minimum time anyone will be away from their house, so it's even possible that when they returned the burglar was still inside, or at least on the property.
This neighbor that called also informed me that a house across the road was broken into last month. No I didn't know that either. Again, a window was broken. That house is way off the road, behind a community gate that is often times not closed. It's easy to drive into that neighborhood. I wasn't told what was taken in either instance.
Neither of these two reports were comforting, especially since I had to work out of town today and the grand kids were home by themselves for two hours. I had them call me when they got home and also right before they went to bed. I told them to make sure the house was locked and the dogs were in the house with them. I got home and all the doors were locked except the sliding glass door, which is probably the door the bad guys would check first. All was well, but I will probably have the alarm set when we leave tomorrow to go out of town for five days.
These two break ins got me to thinking about the neighborhood. In the 15 years I've lived here these are the first two break ins. I'm not sure about the big house (the first one that was burglarized) but it sure seems on the most recent break in that someone was just waiting around for someone in the neighborhood to leave. Have I noticed any vehicles around that don't belong? That's hard to say because most of the neighbors higher house cleaners and yard help and such that all kinds of vehicles come and go each day.
The neighbor wants to start a neighborhood watch program, or at least get signs posted in the neighborhood to make others think that they are being watched. The problem around here is that the people are either really old or are never around. In our mile of houses I'm the second youngest, and I'm in my mid-50s.
Everyone around here needs to be more vigilant and just pay attention to who is walking or driving around here. The local sheriff has a unique program for rural folks. They want you to post "No Trespass" signs on the front and back of your property. The signs are to be at least a foot square and have the lettering at least 2 inches high. They want at least 1 sign per 1/4 mile stretch of fence and at each driveway. The Sheriff's Office has a Rural Crime Alert program that allows citizens to issue citations to non-occupied suspicious vehicles parked on or around their property. This program is designed to reduce rural vandalism, trespassing, burglary and cattle rustling. Citizens are provided with the booklets containing self-carbon citations. One copy of the completed citation is placed on the unoccupied vehicle and the other is mailed to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. The registered owner of the vehicle is then contacted and an investigation begins regarding the purpose of the vehicle being parked where it was cited.