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Old 05-16-2013, 09:26 AM   #1
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


My wife and I recently purchased our first home. We bought in an a town that has it's problem areas, but we live in a small neighborhood in a part of town that is somewhat sequestered, and on a dead end road, not a lot of traffic, basically if you're there, it's on purpose. Because we moved in near the end of the year, we haven't met many of our neighbors (save the few I met while shoveling snow). Recently, I've been put into a situation that I'm not sure how to handle.

Two days ago (Tuesday night), I happened to leave my car unlocked, (something I don't typically do). Wednesday morning I found that someone had opened my passenger door and helped themselves to the 2 ipods I keep in my closed center console. They only took that. Not the $200 sunglasses that were 2 feet away, nor the $2000 worth of golf clubs in the trunk. To me, I think this seems like someone who was regularly checking my car doors, or was close enough to hear that I didn't "beep" the car when I got out. I've filed a report with the police, and while I've been periodically checking ebay and craigslist, I'm confident that my stuff will never be seen again.
So, my question is, what do I do? My wife and I really liked the neighborhood from the way that it looked, people seem to care about their property and know each other, etc. I've had thoughts of posting a notice on the phone poles saying things went "missing" and warning people, or possibly sending a letter to my closer neighbors (probably 6-8 houses). I don't really think it's appropriate for me to go door to door and talk to people, but I'm interested to hear what others would do. My motivation is mostly rooted in warning people to watch out for their stuff, but I'm not discounting the fact that a parent could see and "notice" that their teenager has a new ipod that they didn't remember buying. I don't want to create a tense situation with my new neighbors, as we're hoping to stay here for a long time.

Edit:Just to be clear, I'm NOT planning on placing any blame on my neighbors, or even sharing my thoughts on how I suspect it happened. My only reason for talking or writing to my neighbors is to warn them that there may be further incidents and that they should be careful.


I'd be interested in what people think of this situation. "It sucks" is where I'm at right now.


Last edited by AJPLeBlanc; 05-16-2013 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Clarifying my initial statement
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:47 AM   #2
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


If you want to warn neighbors do so like that. I would not start out by accusing neighbors.

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Old 05-16-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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If you want to warn neighbors do so like that. I would not start out by accusing neighbors.
I completely agree, I honestly have no idea who did it. From my extensive experience watching CSI I think it's probably someone nearby, but it easily could have been someone else. It's pretty difficult for someone to get in, and out of our neighborhood without being noticed, so unless you knew there would be a benefit, it might not be worth the risk.

I really just want to make sure they know what happened, maybe someone saw something, or in the very least, it will let them be on guard in the future.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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I'd cut my losses and do a better job remembering to lock up my car. It probably was kids, but talking to neighbors might to more harm than good, they'll all end up feeling like you're blaming their kid for stealing.

My buddy had this happen to him a few years ago. He came home, left his convertible open but it was in the garage and went in the house for about 15 minutes, leaving the garage door open. Came out to leave, his GPS was missing from the window. He's 95% sure it was the mexican kids that live across the street since that are the only house around with kids, but he ended up using it as a lesson to lock up.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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I'd cut my losses and do a better job remembering to lock up my car. It probably was kids, but talking to neighbors might to more harm than good, they'll all end up feeling like you're blaming their kid for stealing.
I have no plans to mention who I think took anything, much less blame specific neighbors because they have kids.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


I had a few things disappear from my yard until I mentioned to one of my neighbors that the next time I saw someone in my yard at night, I would just shoot them. And the stealing quit.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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We purchased a new home in a new town recently (low crime rate). my wife came home after going to the grocery store and we had to unload her truck. we forgot to hit the lock buttom on the remote. next morning when she headed out to work she found that someone entered the truck and took her GPS and a pack of smokes. Of course we called the cops and filed a report. We admitted the truck was left "unlocked." He told us there are people that walk around at night looking for unlocked vehicles. He said they won't break into them unless left unlocked (guess they don't have the skill set with a slim jim). People don't notice people walking around in the dead of night, and we have dogs that bark at everything.

I went to the neighbors and told them to be extra careful when securing their property as we'd been hit for a GPS unit. I showed them I was a good neighbor by warning them, and this gave them an opportunity to say if they saw anything.

Our thoughts were "we left it unlocked so we only have ourselves to blame." Was good justification for upgrading the wife's cell phone from a 5 year old to an iPhone with GPS ...... LOL Sounds like time for you to get a new and improved iPod. Learn from the mistake and move forward in a positive direction. Education costs money ....
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:06 AM   #8
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


Thanks Gary, I have basically the same feeling. It's my fault I didn't lock my doors. My wife is a little more enraged than me. She says we're not going to talk, or wave to any of our neighbors, ever again... I hate that after only 4 months, that she's soured on the neighborhood. I'm hoping that she'll soften up a little bit over time. That being said, I'm going to be a lot more vigilant about securing our home.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
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If not too much time has passed, I'd use it as an opportunity to go knock on neighbors doors and introduce yourself.

Hi, I'm AJPLeBlanc and we moved in over the winter and I haven't had a chance to meet you. I just wanted to give the neighbors a heads-up that my wife, Mrs. AJPLeBlanc, had her car broken-into Tuesday Night, and they took 2 iPods from the car. So make sure you lock your doors at night. Do you know anyone else that has had their cars broken-into here? Here is my phone number, please let me know if you see anyone snooping around my place.

I'd say your wife is not of the right attitude. Not only could it have been one of your nieghbors or their kids, but their kids' friends, guests, anyone that happened to walk into the neighborhood. We've had people come here to my town, from out of town, just to walk up and down the nicer, upscale neighborhoods checking car doors. Just because you live on a quiet dead-end street, doesn't mean you will be aware of every car that drives by at 3:00a.m. - especially if they park down the street and drop someone off to run up and down the block to check doors - that's what they do here (cops caught them).

Finally, if the car wasn't locked this time - where-else might it have been left unlocked? Any chance the iPods were taken from another location? Are you positive they were in there that night?

Last edited by hyunelan2; 05-16-2013 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Punctuation
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:55 AM   #10
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


I'm 100% certain it happened at my house.

I drove home, listening to the ipod. Parked my car and went inside.
Didn't leave. next morning, console was open, and ipods were gone.
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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We live in the country, but outside of a large town that has all of two traffic lights, and I think a total of five traffic lights for the entire zip code. Even so, crime isn't just a big city thing, and we hear repeatedly of the exact situation that you described. They are reported as break-ins, but when access is made through unlocked doors I call them slide-ins for cars and walk-ins for homes. Laptops, ipads, things like that, and ocassionally a flat screen tv. Vigilance in the form of awareness and preparedness is the key. And yes, some of them are done by neighborhood teens, in fact, within the past year or so, there were about a dozen, all known to be related because they finally caught the guys, and one of the kid's dad had joined the cause, serving as their driver and lokout guy. Fortunately, they are bunking with Bubba now. So yes, you most likely live near and/or have seen some of the bad guys in your area. But avoiding, alienating, frowning upon, or whatever you want to call it, your neighbors is not generally a good solution. We have had a few people in the area ofver the years that I have wondered about, none of them ever convicted of anything as far as I know of, but many more times I have gotten a call on my cell phone from good neighbors who drove by our house and noticed something. Sort of like "red van with ladder rack on top, yes, thank you, but he's okay, just borrowed one of my trailers, and is dropping it off today". eighbors are a lot like family; you love some and you tolerate some, but, overall, they're good to have around.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:07 PM   #12
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


I would be hesitant to blame the entire neighborhood. It's a known fact that there are those who case neighborhoods like that just looking for opportunities. These types of neighborhoods are targetted because they are easy picking. It doesn't happen here, so nobody is on guard for it. If you think about it, it's easy for a petty thief to keep an eye out for traffic on a dead end street. Ipods, GPSs = easy cash. I'd quickly mention it to the neighbors that you've had a problem so that they can be on guard.
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #13
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New homeowner, neighbors, questions


I used to live in a lower class neighborhood. Lived alone, very quiet, a homebody. Had some trouble around my house with people in my yard when I wasn't home, some damage to my garage, etc.

I called the police and a car showed up and I talked to them in my front yard. Publicly.

Then I went to all of the neighbors, knocked on their doors, introduced myself, told them I was having trouble and they should be careful themselves. The first neighbor I talked to said that someone had tried to break into her side door the week before. After that I warned the rest of the neighbors of that.

One or two neighbors seemed slightly concerned that I was accusing them or their children, and I calmly repeated that I was warning them. To be honest, I wasn't super concerned that they would take it the wrong way. I am an introvert so it was hard for me to do this.

I never had trouble again. Whether or not my neighbors were involved, word got out that someone lived in my house and wasn't afraid and was annoyed and was calling the police. It's funny how these things work.

It just takes one douchebag 14 year old to make an entire neighborhood look bad.


Last edited by Amateuralex; 05-16-2013 at 01:30 PM.
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