Mary and Evan aren’t their real names. Both fear retaliation from whomever is stealing and breaking into vehicles and garages in their otherwise quiet neighborhood near Buchanan Elementary School, Davenport.
Mary, who is active on the social media platform nextdoor.com, plans to email Ald. Kerri Tompkins about the escalation in crime.
Evan, a neighbor, said he left his unlocked truck parked in the driveway a couple of weeks ago. One Monday morning, “I got into the truck, and everything was ransacked,” he said.
A pocket knife, among other items, was taken. “Most importantly they took my garage-door opener,” he said.
He stores lots of items in his garage, including a drone and what he calls an “old-school car.”
“They opened up the garage, but they didn’t go in,” said Evan, who thinks the noise the garage door makes might have scared the intruders away. “I don’t know if they plan on coming back.”
He did not report the theft, but considered doing so now after he talked with Mary. Another neighbor said it wouldn’t do any good to report it.
Mary has lived in Davenport for 13 years. “It has been peaceful,” she said. “We didn’t even have to lock our car doors … nothing.”
Then people began to open the doors to unlocked cars to steal small items, Mary said. Recently, her husband’s gun was stolen from a locked vehicle.
“There’s someone out there with his gun," she said. "Our neighbors have had guns stolen, too."
More recently, car windows in vehicles parked in the neighborhood have been shot out with what possibly is BB gun, she said.
In the neighborhood, “Everybody that can afford it are putting security cameras up,” Mary said. “We give evidence to the police, they can’t really do anything because they can’t really see their faces.”
She wants to take action, and has tried to rally neighbors by speaking directly with some and by rallying people on social media.
“I’ll go a barbecue. I’ll do flyers. Let’s do it as a community. We need to take our streets back,” Mary said. If the neighborhood doesn’t get together as a team, “Nothing’s going to happen. I have security all around the house. I’m doing this not just for me, I’m doing it for us.”
Advice from police
Mary and Evan's neighborhood isn't alone. But advice from police is the same, no matter the neighborhood.
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Corp. Chris Hebbel, of the Davenport Police Department, said it’s important to call the police even for a minor crime.
“If you see something, say something,” he said. “One small thing can turn a whole investigation.”
Police encourage people to remove valuables from their cars. And lock them up.
“Unlocked vehicles are a good majority of stolen cars," he said.
He also emphasized the Quad-City “Lock It Up” initiative that began in 2017 to curb the escalation of stolen vehicles that began in 2016. He offered the following tips:
- Most stolen vehicles are easy targets, such as a car running unattended; or a car with unlocked doors and the keys in it.
- Vehicle thefts occur throughout the Quad-Cities, in all neighborhoods and public places such as convenience stores and gas stations.
- The most prevalent age group for the suspects of stolen vehicles is 12-18 years of age.
- Once in possession of a stolen vehicle, suspects often drive recklessly, commit thefts and burglaries, become involved in shootings and hit-and-run crashes and flee from police.
- Once law enforcement recovers a stolen vehicle, it often is damaged.
He also suggests residents lock doors and windows even when they’re home. And talk to your neighbors.
For those who have security cameras, “If there’s video, we’ll definitely take a look at it,” he said. “Get out and meet your neighbors.”
The www.nextdoor.com site is a great asset, he said — a kind of digital neighborhood watch. Cities are represented by neighborhoods on the free social-media app and website, where neighbors can communicate publicly or send private messages.
Other social media includes Facebook, which also has neighborhood pages for residents of specific areas and allows users to post privately or send private messages.
Police said those who want to remain anonymous can send tips via the “Do What’s Right” app,” which launched in 2013, or via the mobile apps “CityConnect Davenport, IA” or “CrimeReports by Motorola.”
Another longtime resource is Crime Stoppers of the Quad-Cities, founded in 1982.
Callers can remain anonymous and are eligible to receive a cash reward if the information they provide leads to a felony arrest.
Call 309-762-9500, or submit tips via an app found here: https://www.p3tips.com/index.htm.
Hebbel said members of the Crime Prevention Unit will speak at neighborhood meetings, and perform security checks in neighborhoods or in businesses, churches or other places where people gather.
Also, when it comes to juvenile crime, young people have a curfew: Midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday.
“We do enforce it,” Hebbel said. “It can benefit the community and benefit the kids as well.”