There has been some discussion on the Rio Crossing section of NextDoor.com about increased crime in our neighborhood. I thought I’d include some of that conversation, and expound a little bit on some other things that have been observed.
Here’s an excerpt of what one resident had to say about Rio Crossing over the years:
I am fairly new to this website but not new to the neighborhood. I have been here since the neighborhood was developed and am very disappointed on all the crime that is happening. I had no idea [before reading this website] of how much crime was going on in Rio Crossing. When we bought our house I thought what a nice neighborhood this is going to be.
After several neighbor responses, I did a little research and chimed in with the following:
Not to diminish the experience of people who have been victims of crime here recently, but Rio Crossing *is* a nice community, and its crime stats are not out of line with other communities around us (if you take into consideration number of houses in each neighborhood).
Here’s a graph of crime reports in Rio Crossing for the seven years data is available on CommunityCrimeMap.com. Crime was VERY high right after the real estate crash, at over 10 reports per month. The last 5 years it has been between 4 and 5 reports per month average.
The statistics don’t support the notion of a crime increase here. Just because (thanks to the sharing and comradery of our fellow NextDoor.com neighbors) we’re more AWARE of crimes recently doesn’t mean it actually is increasing long-term.
This past month it *was* up: 10 crime reports in Rio Crossing for November alone. But none in September, and none yet 10 days into December. If we all look out for each other, turn our outside lights on at night, lock our cars and garages and front doors, etc., I believe we can keep the rate down. Together, looking out for each other.
So yes… reported crime was somewhat worse this last November. But so far (12/16/2016) there haven’t been any crimes reported in December.
Of course, reported crime doesn’t reflect the whole picture. For example, stolen Christmas lights or broken/stolen light bulbs from the carriage lamps out front, which we have seen in December so far.
In each case I’m aware of, there are a pair of boys — either teenagers or early 20s. In one case I saw video of two young men breaking one light bulb and stealing the other off of a neighbor’s garage carriage lights on their second pass through the neighborhood. In another case, two boys had grabbed a string of lights from one homeowner’s yard, and a neighbor chased them through the neighborhood; police were called, but once they arrived on the scene, there wasn’t much they could do. [Note: I’m not sure why that incident hasn’t made it into Community Crime Map’s database for December.]
In another case, the vandals weren’t seen, but took several star-light devices from a neighbors yard. This incident occurred the same night of the carriage light damage, and I suspect the same two people were involved.
The Block Wall at Rosa & 124th
During a discussion of crime at this month’s board meeting, one of the board members mentioned the long-standing issue of people crossing the bock wall at the west end of the green belt at 124th and Rosa. Yesterday around noon I saw these two guys doing just that — climbing over the wall into the Wigwam Creek area. The picture here isn’t that great (long distance iPhone shot blown up and cropped), but you can see one of them (white shirt, darn shorts) is standing on an overturned recycle can, and his buddy (dark shirt, red shorts) is waiting his turn patiently.
Now I don’t know if these two young men are Rio Crossing residents going over into Wigwam Creek, Wigwam Creek residents returning after walking through Rio Crossing, or from who knows where. But I do know that there’s a sign over on the wall that reads like this:
I drove around both sides of the wall this morning, and at 8am on a Saturday, there’s no “criminal element” lurking around. I found a similar sign on the Wigwam Creek area, except theirs is covered with foliage:
Not very effective — not that our sign has been either. But at least ours is visible. (Now, anyway; back in October, this is what it looked like.)
What can we do? I say the Wigwam Creek folks have the right idea: thick vegetation along the wall. Except I don’t think they went far enough. In my younger years, my parents had the most prickly bushes in the front of our house, specifically to make it difficult for would-be burglars to climb in the windows. I think we should find out what is the biggest, toughest, sticker/spine/pointy-needle plant we can find, and have the HOA install and maintain a full growth of those along the wall as a security measure.
I like the pretty flowers and trees at the entrances and in front of the monuments. But I’d also like to know we’re making it difficult for thugs and vandals to get into and out of our neighborhood.