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There is nobody more qualified to spot suspicious activity in a neighborhood than someone who lives there. I feel very strongly that getting to know your neighbors is one of the most important things you can do to improve our community. Just being in contact with even one neighbor can be a blessing. Are either of you having any trouble with wildlife pests? Solicitors? Did you leave your garage door open? Can you call that neighbor and ask them to check on it? It really adds peace of mind and another layer of protection to be friendly with someone else on your street. This time of year the amount of people who reside in our community increases 10%-15% making winter the best time to reach out. Whether they are a snowbird or full-time resident, take a moment to wave and say hello to your neighbor. Exchange contact info and get their phone number programmed into your cell phone right away. You never know when it’s going to come in handy.

By communicating with our neighbors, we can learn who uses which landscaping company, pool cleaning service, etc. This is important because there are communities where individuals posing as landscapers have gone in and stolen expensive plants, yard features, and sprinkler control boxes. In some cases, a neighbor had seen the landscape truck and the men working in the yard, but did not realize that it wasn’t that person’s normal landscaper. The same goes for imposter pool cleaners who go into back yards and emerge with expensive pool vacuums, timers and pump motors. These are just a few examples of why getting to know the neighbors can make a huge difference in both personal safety and that of your neighborhood.

Getting to know the neighbors is a process that does not happen overnight. Like any relationship, it can take a little time to develop. I feel very fortunate that my wife and have gotten to know our neighbors and consider them friends. Although our religious faiths and political opinions may vary, we always manage to focus on the commonality of where we live. We keep an eye on each other’s homes when one of us is out of town. We alert one another when Solicitor’s are going door to door. Over the last few years we have been there for each other, we have rescued lost pets, helped to have rattlesnakes relocated, and warned each other when bobcats were roaming the neighborhood. Through our lines of communication we even helped The Phoenix Police department apprehend a criminal, who made the mistake of targeting our neighborhood. This would not of happened if we had never met each other.

You and your neighbors can be an integral part in the fight against crime, but we don’t expect you to do it alone. The Community Awareness Committee is always striving to make our community a safer and better place to live. We work with the Phoenix Police Department, our security patrol providers, HOA representatives, and Block Watch leaders to form strategies for reducing crime and keeping property values high in Desert Ridge. The Community Awareness Committee continues to carry the support of the DRCA Board of Directors who unanimously voted to approve the recent recommendations made by the committee. These recommendations included an increase in the off-duty patrols by the City of Phoenix Police Department as well as additional patrols by Urban Tactical Security. We have also renewed our agreement with Silent Witness to match the reward paid for anonymous tips on criminal activity that occurs in Desert Ridge.

To promote better awareness we will continue to provide our residents with tips on how to better protect themselves, their homes, and their families through this publication, e-blasts, and on desertridgelifestyles.com.

If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Block Watch, please contact the Desert Ridge Community Association office at 480-551-4553.