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Friday, September 28, 2007

GNW Watch Report: Meeting Notes...

Better late than never, right?

My wife and I attended the monthly meeting of the Great Northwest Neighborhood Watch this past Wednesday and I took a few notes which I will keep very brief.

Investigator Kelly Gleason from the Bexar County Sheriff's Office Vehicle Theft Unit came and gave us a great briefing on the auto theft task force that he is part of. First, it is nice to know that we have a multi-agency task force working the auto theft issue. You may have noticed some of the TV commercials playing regarding taking your keys out of your car. If you think this is a ridiculousness waste of money, consider that about 25 percent of the vehicles stolen here have the keys left in the ignition or they leave the second set in the car. Dumbasses.

Oh, and I didn't know it was a crime to leave your keys in your car, but it is.

A few other fun facts: In San Antonio, you have a 67 percent chance that your car will be recovered if it is stolen. I'm sure you will appreciate the beer and puke smell leftover by the little joy riders. If you are thinking that your car is headed straight down to Mexico when they steal it, it probably isn't. The recent war on terror has resulted in a lot more scrutiny along the border, and in fact, a lot of the money that places like Houston, Dallas and SA used to receive in grants for this type of work is now going toward the valley.

Also, every five minutes a car is stolen for 959,000 per year or a total of about $84 million in claims paid out a year. Hearing that makes me feel like my insurance rates are going up by the minute.

Following the theft presentation, Chief Roger Burton of the GNW Security staff provided us with some info on GNW reports in the last month. During the Q&A session, several audience members had some pretty tough questions for the chief regarding trends, follow-up of actions and exactly how the full GNW area is patrolled.

Based on a conversation I had with another resident, I asked the chief specifically about how the area is patrolled by his officers, and more pointedly, was there a fair amount of coverage in all areas. The person I had spoken with has had the benefit of living in both Emerald Valley and Silver Creek, and her observation was that the patrols seemed more frequent in Silver Creek than in other neighborhoods in the GNW. Chief Burton disputed this outright and suggested that, while he does not map out a specific patrol pattern for the security staff to drive, he is confident that his officers hit the entire GNW area several times per shift. Further, he elaborated that in areas where they see problems, they get even more patrols.

Chief Burton did state however that he was not going to simply sit in front of a resident's home, even if he suspected that the teenagers living there were causing problems. This would be harassment.

I am going to discuss this a bit with some of my neighbors and I will gladly consider e-mails from readers with thoughts, but I do have several items that the staff or the board may wish to consider in ways that we as a community may be able to deter some of the problems people occasionally see.

The thing that residents need to remember however, is that our security staff is more of a courtesy staff. They aren't conducting investigations or arresting people, so you can't be upset if they don't whip out the 9MM and start busting caps when some little JD is smokin' and jokin' down the street.

But, I welcome your input.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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