From Scott on Duran
I would recommend to homeowners that before confronting "suspicious people", those who notice these activities use a digital camera and take pictures first. These can be blown up for better detail or police or posted in emails so others can actually see who they need to lookout for and license plates can be seen with a zoom. Pictures can be taken from the safety of your home, but still be discrete, no need to let them know you are doing it. To deter night time prowlers, I recommend very bright motion activated security lights for all sides of your home and keep your gates locked with a lock. Alarm systems have been getting cheaper in recent years and don't necessarily need to be connected to the police or a service as long as a loud alarm bell is installed. A hidden 'Panic Button' is good to have to manually turn it on/off. Video camera systems have become cheaper too. Get to know your immediate neighbors and exchange phone numbers, they will probably respond faster than the police. Large numbers of people taking notice will scare off predators, but don't do it by yourself, they may have accomplices near.
These are scary times and I think it's only going to get worse. So be prepared!
Note to the community: We're looking into various security options and should have a meeting soon to discuss a community-supported private patrol. Chuck has found that we can hire an off-duty deputy for just over $53 per hour. We've also been looking at www.paladinprivatesecurity.com which is composed of former military and police trained to respond to emergencies, not just patrol and observe. We'll post more information and things develop.
Please remember to be alert. Even if we weren't about to experience Sheriff's Department cutbacks, an informed, aware community is the best defense against crime and always has been.