Several things have happened recently that make me think more about home security. Yesterday, my neighbor told me that when she let her dog out around midnight the night before, she saw a person she described as looking like a teenage boy run down the driveway of the house on the other side of hers, jump into a car waiting on the curb and speed away. She called the owners that morning, who reported that nothing seemed to be missing or disturbed. Needless to say, the thought of people poking around in the yard in the middle of the night, two doors up the street from me, caused me concern.
There have been more instances. The house four doors up the street was broken into on Christmas night, while the owner was at her relatives' house for dinner. Their security alarm went off just as we sat down to dinner ourselves. And last month, a light like a flashlight being turned on and off quickly was seen around 2 a.m. in the back yard of the house five doors up the street. My neighbor saw that too because she had to get up to let the dog out to go to the bathroom. (She's up at all hours with that silly dog, so she's the only one awake to see what happens around here at night.) The couple who lives in that house were awakened by their dog barking at the same time. It's a big dog, so the guy opened the back door and turned it out in the yard (good deterrent!). When they looked, there was no one outside.
Let me say that I don't live in a dodgy neighborhood. True, it's an older one, but still very respectable. However, there have been indications that this part of the city may have problems in the future.
A little history: my house was built in 1968. It's around 7 miles as the crow flies from the city center. At that time, it was waaaaay outside of town! This was part of a farm that was subdivided and sold for lots. Now of course, the city has grown out to meet and then pass us for miles and we are inside city limits. There's a large elemetary school across the street. Since it's an older area with mostly ranch style houses, it's not so popular with home buyers anymore. Many of the occupants have been here since the 1970's. Nearly all of them are older than we are. My neighbor is 85. The couple across the street are 87 or 88. The lady on the other side of my neighbor is in her 60's. And so on. The lady who lives around the corner from us is around our age, and the house behind us, built on a long-vacant lot around 5 years ago, is owned by a family with two small children. But, mostly, it's retirees here.
That in itself can be a danger. A thief, driving around during the day to survey the area, will see only old people outside, and no children playing. That makes these houses an easier mark. And, there have been disturbing news items reported about the adjoining area just a few miles closer to town. Shootings, burglaries, assaults. True, it's a much older area, and has been going downhill, but it's not that far away. It's also getting a reputation as a less safe part of town. That's why home sales are drying up here and everyone is moving/building further east or north outside town. (Well, that and they don't want to pay both city and county taxes.)
What to do? We tried without luck to find a house last year. This has been a fear of mine, that it will become less safe to live here. And, that we wouldn't be able to sell the place. It's all very worrisome.
Well, on a lighter note, let me tell you a story about my lawn guy. He mowed yesterday for me, my neighbor, and the newer house behind me. (He's got quite a business.) Since the people in the newer house have small children, the yard is always cluttered with toys, soccer nets and swing sets for him to contend with. There are also an enormous number, at least a dozen, play balls and soccer balls always scattered about. I told him if they don't clean up their yard he is going to have to mount a cow catcher on the front of his riding mower. Anyway, yesterday I watched him driving the riding mower around the back yard with what looked like a golf club in his hand, batting the balls out of the way as he worked. Mower polo!