There was a large crowd of motivated Salemtowne residents at the May 24th meeting in the Towne Hall to listen to, and ask questions of, Officer Mark Jantz with the Salem Police Department who took time out of his very busy work schedule to come and be with us. A huge thank you to Officer Jantz for his time and his expertise.
Cathy Nelson opened by introducing the Neighborhood Watch Block Captains and encouraging residents to get to know them. In the past year, since Cathy has taken the helm, nearly all Block Captain positions have been filled and are active. Thank you Cathy!
Cathy described several crimes that have taken place in Salemtowne over the past year to emphasize that Salemtowne is no more immune from crime than any other neighborhood. We each need to be active and vigilant to improve safety. Cathy then turned the microphone over to Officer Jantz and the steady stream of questions and concerns from the audience began.
Here are a few quick takeaways from Officer Jantz:
Illuminate the exterior of your home with dusk to dawn lights. The wattage need not be high. Even low wattage light is a deterrent and will encourage a crook to seek out a nearby unilluminated home for their dirty deeds.
Shrubs, trees and privacy screens make wonderful hiding places from the street, and even from you. If keeping landscaping plants trimmed to 2- 3 feet is harmful to the shrub, try trimming it up from the bottom so the legs and feet of a crook can be seen. Trim your trees up similarly.
“The police won’t come anyhow. Why call?” The police won’t come absolutely if you don’t call. Let the police be the ones to decide what form of response they will do. At the very least your issue will be added into their database and the overall incidence of occurrences for our neighborhood will be accurately reflected.
Be a good neighbor. Look out for each other and for unusual circumstances. Let your neighbor know if you are going to be gone. Let the office know if you are a snowbird and provide the office, and your Neighborhood Block Captain, with at least one emergency contact number.
Do not personally confront a (possibly desperate and drugged up) crook unless they are actually in your home and you are in imminent danger. Call the police.
If there is someone unusual roaming the neighborhood, be a good neighbor and kindly ask if you can be of assistance.
Be a good witness by getting a good description should it be needed. Do not hold your phone up and warn them that you are filming them. This may only invoke anger and more danger. Be discrete.
Feel free to remind solicitors that there is no soliciting in Salemtowne, then fclose your door. If you want to purchase something, seek it out at a retail outlet. Do not encourage non-residents to go from door to door. Likewise, hangup your phone on anyone wanting money or to sell you something over the phone. (Including that grandson who is supposedly in a jam and needs immediate bail money. And no one from the government is going to call you to pay a fine.)
The number of questions fielded finally had to be limited as the meeting was running long. A big thanks to all of the residents who showed the depth of their interest and their motivation to take personal action to make Salemtowne a secure, crook unfriendly, neighborhood. And thank you again to Officer Jantz.