I was appalled to read about the rash of vandalism that took place in White Oaks over this past weekend, where 45 vehicles had their tires slashed or windshields smashed in an overnight crime spree. Pretty sad to see something like this happen in such a great community. But while the scale of the damage was in this case was shocking, the fact that it happened at all was NOT a surprise to me. Here’s why…
Incidents like this have happened in various neighborhoods throughout San Carlos over the past several years. The most recent I heard about was a rash of car burglaries on Knoll Drive late last year, where a number of vehicles on the street had their windows smashed and valuables taken from the car. I didn’t read about this in the papers, though. I only heard about it because I know many of the families who live on that street. With the exception of a one-line blurb in the San Carlos Police Activity Report, there was no mention about it anywhere that I could see. No published advisory, warning…nothing. And I’d be willing to bet that other neighborhoods have been hit as well.
Proactive vs Reactive.
In the article in the San Mateo Daily Journal about the most recent incident, San Carlos Police Sgt Mark Robbins was quoted as saying:
The city does not sponsor any formal neighborhood watch program, but residents can start informal programs or simply get to know their neighbors.
That one quote says it all. I’m not singling out Sgt. Robbins at all — I know Mark personally and I think he’s a great guy — he’s just following his department’s policy (or lack thereof). But this IS a very telling statement about the mindset of our City leaders, and our current “reactive” approach to a growing problem in San Carlos. Isn’t it time for the City take a more proactive approach to this silent problem???
Neighborhood Watch Program.
Many communities on the Peninsula have taken a proactive approach to reducing neighborhood crime . The City of San Mateo has a superbly organized Neighborhood Watch Program that is supported and endorsed by the City of San Mateo and the San Mateo PD. Redwood City has a similar program as well.
Has that time come for San Carlos? I think so. I know we relish the “small town” feel of our community, and I know that posting these kinds of signs has a negative connotation to the community. But criminals have San Carlos pegged as a “target-rich” environment, and we have a real problem here that’s not going to go away unless we take a newer, more proactive approach.
I’d much rather see the City spend its precious funds on signs like this…
than on signs like this…
What are your thoughts?
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