Report from Berkeley
August 29th, 2009
Dear Dr. Piazza,
Great series, and a great wake up call to those “deer in the headlights” friends and neighbors here in Berkeley, with whom I’d like to share your insights.
Here, we are experiencing a crime wave of burglaries and thefts from cars. I have gone door to door on my street on one side of the street, while my girlfriend took the other side of the street, getting people aware that they have neighbors, and that they need to keep an eye out for suspicious activity, and report anything serious to the police, We’ve had neighborhood watch meetings organized, to be aware of what’s going on through the Police department emailing us directly about suspects and crimes in our area.
We are warned to be on the lookout for strange vehicles coming and parking while people inside look around, and for strange joggers, or motorcyclists who just stop and chat with each other while scanning the area like a perimeter. The legitimate people who belong never mind getting asked questions, and we check up on their back stories by calling any numbers listed, or checking on the Internet to see if they are telling a plausible story – about – say – delivering an Oxygen setup for a doctor on Friday afternoon, but the address was wrong, so they were looking around the neighborhood for Mr. So and so, who I never heard of. But the answering service verified the employee name, and the business card matched the website, and the setup man was in the company picture, with the rest of the crew.
We’ve got people who just go out and photograph license plates and people in the (usually) white vans or Toyota white pickups that used to come around, but don’t much anymore – they have turned to other streets where it’s less organized, therefore easier., We have recently trimmed away shrubbery for a better view, and also removed leaves and branches up to three feet off the ground, for better visibility, and alerted all the neighbors to call 911 if something looks or sounds wrong, which is what the police have been encouraging us to do.
There are a few well armed people who won’t hesitate to do what is necessary. I will get the word out that you have a wonderful program. I believe it’s better to aim first, and not waste a shot, or risk a round getting away or wounding someone on a ricochet – that happened to a friend of mine, years ago, when he missed and the slug ricocheted off a mail box and nicked him in the side, fortunately not seriously.
I am recuperating from a leg injury at present, but at some point I’d like to avail myself of the opportunities you present, and get the others in my family involved. (I was a security consultant for 16 years, and nobody I worked with got harmed during my watch, although things got interesting at times.) I see great value in being able to practice and develop and maintain confidence in preparations for situations we all hope will never happen at all, so we can be prepared for that emergency, stay calm, and live, not panic and die.
Everything I read in your newsletter is well thought out and thoroughly planned in detail. I don’t know if the people reading your reports realize the extreme care and clarity you have worked for in compiling and writing this body of material, but let me add my thanks to the many accolades you have received.
Keep up the good work, and thanks again,