Fighting crime, via e-mails


IT’S MID-MORNING and I’ve just finished my rounds. You see, the Town Crier has taken to patrolling the neighborhood, looking for trouble. Oh, it hasn’t found me yet but if and when it does, I’m ready.

You see, I’m part of a neighborhood watch group that works pretty well in a city known for being a bit tight when it comes to law enforcement bucks. Until we figure out where all that money went that was supposed to pay for more cops on the streets, neighbors have got to take charge.

On our block, we are all connected by e-mail. Many of us, too, are members of the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council listserv (montclair sic.org), which is an immediate way to warn neighbors when a crime has been committed or there is suspicious activity in an area.

So if I read on the listserv that a home on Skyline has been burglarized, I can be on the lookout for suspects. If a neighbor e-mails me to say she’s away, I can keep an eye on her house. If I spot a suspicious vehicle (one turned up, recently, full of electronic equipment being used by identity thieves) I can report it.

Don’t get me wrong. If I’d wanted to go into law enforcement, I would have done it by now. But I have no problem doing my part to help the police, and in the process, keep my neighborhood safe.

WHOSE FAULT: It’s our fault and we’d better get used to it. I’m talking about the Hayward Fault, of course. Reader George Saucedo says Oct. 21 is the 140th anniversary of the devastating temblor that shook the Hayward Fault back in 1868. The best scientific research shows that were due for another major quake THIS YEAR, in 2008. For some interesting history on the Hayward Fault and how to prepare for the inevitable, log onto www.1868alliance.org.

E-MAIL BAG: Thanks to reader Mike Petouhoff, who says my recent column heralding the great work by a group of local Eagle Scouts in Shepherd Canyon Park spurred scout Mike Conn to join the effort. He and his dad, Michael Conn, put dozens of hours into building a Japanese-style tori gate to the park at Escher Road. Thanks, guys! Keep up the good work!

And speaking of Shepherd Canyon Park, I was remiss in not mentioning all of the groups responsible for the new parking lot expansion. In addition to the Montclair Soccer Club and MSIC (which I did mention), the Skyline LaCrosse Team kicked in $1,000 and there were lots of smaller, individual donations, too. But most of the funds for the parking lot came from Councilmembers Jean Quan and Henry Chang, writes Quan’s policy analyst Sue Piper, who tells me the project should be done in a week or so, as soon as the rest of the materials arrive.

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