Neighbors talk crime at block party

Hood River’s first Neighborhood Watch group is being formed, and others may soon follow.

Signup sheets for the crime prevention program were filled with signatures at the Block Party which drew 150 people to Pine Street on Friday evening (July 26). The event was planned so that residents of Hood River’s new “Zone 9” could meet each other and join in the battle against car prowls and other problems. But it drew many citizens from other sectors of the city as well — and even a visit from Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches.

“You’ve got a great community, coming together like this helps you solve your problems easier, and it helps law enforcement solve problems,” Metsger told the crowd.

“I think everyone had a good time and now we’ve gotten a start and we’ll see what happens next,” said Marty Knowles, a Pine Street resident who organized the barbecue potluck.

Knowles is working in partnership with Community Resource Officer Aaron Jubitz to establish the new Neighborhood Watch program. He volunteered for that task during a community meeting about Zone 9, the Heights commercial core and surrounding residential areas, three weeks ago. During the past year Jubitz has mapped out 10 zones in Hood River and 16 in Cascade Locks. He has researched two years of crime data for each of those areas, with the results of that study showing that, in Hood River, Zone 9 and Zone 2, encompassing the downtown area, are currently ranked first in overall crime at 16 percent respectively. For Zone 9, Jubitz listed 265 crime reports for the past two years, with theft and criminal mischief the two most common problems.

Knowles hopes to stop that trend by working with Jubitz in the next few weeks to set up the program that will allow residents to network information and more readily notice unusual activities.

Jubitz told the July 26 gathering that by taking pro-active steps to fight crime they would see a reduction of problems in their neighborhoods.

“We saw a need to change how we do business, seeing you here tonight tells me we’re going in the right direction,” said Jubitz. “We’re on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week but we can’t be everywhere. For Hood River to succeed as a community we all have to take a little responsibility and help each other out.”

He said many times when a crime occurs someone in the vicinity heard something but didn’t investigate further or report that information, which could have provided valuable leads.

“I cannot encourage you enough to give us a call,” Jubitz said. “A lot of people say they don’t want to tie up 9-1-1, but that’s why it’s there. Give us a call at 2 a.m. — we’re up.”

One Pine Street resident said he has already been actively trying to stop speeding cars along the roadway. Darron Dahlstrom regularly follows these vehicles to their homes and reminds the drivers that their actions are endangering children and pets. He said the general response from most motorists is that they just didn’t realize how fast they were going.

He gave away a million-candlepower hand lamp as a raffle prize and urged all citizens to have a bright light handy for investigating noises at night. More than 22 other Hood River businesses joined Dahlstrom in donating prizes for the Block Party.

“For me, it’s all about prevention,” said Dahlstrom, nodding toward his daughter, Alex, in his arms. “This is the number one reason I’m concerned.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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