Wanted: Neighborhood Security

Buckeye Farm Beat

Robbery at son’s condo is a slap in the face.

Published on: January 24, 2010

Talk about an inside job. Between the time my son Joe left for work around 7:45 a.m. and the time he returned for lunch at 12:15, the door to his modest, second floor, on the main drag, good neighborhood (at Mill Run in Hilliard) was kicked in and everything fenceable was taken. Like many other twenty-somethings Joe is a musician who loves electronics. Gibson electric guitar, Yamaha acoustic guitar, key boards, microphones, speakers, amplifiers, custom computer, laptop, 42-inch flat screen television, training weights, game systems, games, DVDs, luggage, and white athletics socks were taken. The exercise bicycle, identification records, wall hangings, kitchenware and toiletries were inspected but left in place. A couple of beers had been taken from the refrigerator and left on the counter.


I spent that night on Joe’s couch and the next day we were joined by one of his friends as we hung a new door (complete with steel “extensions”). There was some nervous joking about getting a shotgun, a rotwieler and steel bars in the entryway. As we finished, the ADT Security salesman showed up to express his sorrow and offer a system. “We follow the police reports,” he explained. Right.


I asked Joe what the police had suggested he do. They said get a dog. So the next day we went to the pound and Joe chose Bebe a 1-year-old shepherd/lab stray with high pitched yap that seemed a little more energetic than my son. Joe has since renamed the dog DV or Devi for Devious I’m told. And other than tearing out his linoleum bathroom floor, the dog has been great, if you don’t mind being dragged by a dog on leash in the rain and snow, three times a day, plastic bag in hand.


Joe says his neighbors are either young professionals like him, college students or older folks. Many already have dogs -- probably not even realizing what their pets are doing for them -- just with a bark or two. I say Joe needs to get the older folks out of their homes and walking around during the hours the younger folks are at work. The workers could return the favor later in the evening – as they walked their dogs.


Of course it makes me realize how vulnerable we are out in the country. Yes we have two big dogs, but there are not a lot of folks around to hear them bark. I’ve decided it is all the more reason to make a trip around the neighborhood and remind everyone to keep an eye out for each other. The hood is what you make it, and what you prevent others from making it. We all carry cell phones with cameras. The least we can do is snap a photo of a suspicious vehicle. Several neighbors get daily exercise along the local roads. We all could take a turn. And when something does happen, we need to put the word out. A warning might make prevent the thieves from using the same approach again.


Joe has insurance and he’s done a good job of keeping receipts and serial numbers. I am sure Nationwide will be on his side. His confidence is a little shaken and he’s very angry. In addition taking several years of music he has written, the robbers violated the secure feeling he and the rest of us want to feel in our homes. I fear that it is a sign our economic and drug-influenced times are making folks more and more desperate. The Internet and pawn shops make quick sales easy.


I tell Joe it was just bad luck. I’m sure many of his neighbors have the same set of earthly goods he possessed. It was just a matter of picking a place that would be unattended for a couple of hours. Next time they will have to deal with a well-reinforced door and a really terrifying yapper.


Watch out for your neighbors. Ask them to do the same.