A neighborhood effort to eradicate crime – The Vacaville Reporter

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What can you do if a major drug dealer shows up in your neighborhood and moves into a house in your neighborhood?

I can only speak from personal experience, as my wife and I, with a lot of essential help from the neighbors, all of this over the past year has made life more difficult for such a drug dealer, a previously convicted felon. . After 18 months, he’s gone with his heavily tattooed comrades as he faces court dates for a new round of crimes including possession of a sawed-off shotgun and ammunition, among others.

What are you doing?

First, identify the problem, which should be obvious once the flood of cars starts happening all day long, until early evening, and sometimes, say, 3 a.m. equally suspicious quick comings and goings of, say, the front door, side door, garage, or stash or cash recoveries from vehicles parked in the driveway or on the sidewalk.

Second, find the emergency phone number for your local police department and connect it to your smartphone: In Vacaville, it’s (707) 449-5200; at Dixon (707) 678-7070; in Rio Vista (707) 374-6366; at Fairfield (707) 428-7300; in Suisun City (707) 421-7373; at Vallejo (707) 648-4321. If you live outside of the city limits in an unincorporated area, the Solano County Sheriff’s Office Non-Urgent Shipment number is (707) 421-7090.

If you can start a relationship with a detective in the police department or sheriff’s drug control units, then all the better. Get a cell phone number from them so you can text them to report suspicious activity.

When you call, report what you see, of course, but also note the time, make, model and color of the vehicle (s); a description of the driver (if possible) and any passengers; a license plate number (I gathered this information easily using binoculars, as I had a clear line of sight between my home and the drug house); and whatever anyone wore from home. Also inform the dispatcher if you have seen money passing or exchanging money outside the pharmacy or on the street. I have rarely seen this, because from what I understand drug dealers today are using online payment options.

Every now and then the dispatcher would ask me if I saw any weapons, guns or knives, on people entering or leaving the house. I have seen folding knives carried on the hips of men from time to time, but I have never seen guns.

One ongoing activity that was so evident a hallmark of drug trafficking was the trafficker, who earlier told neighbors that he had a home auto repair business (a lie, it turned out) and was “working” on cars in his driveway and garage. By work I mean spending 30 minutes doing something under a car seat while lying in the street, putting tires back on, removing door panels, pulling up car hoods. vehicles while there was no apparent repair work going on, giving people what appeared to be bogus car batteries. From what I understand, fake car batteries are a method used by drug dealers to smuggle or hide drugs.

Over time, I finally did some research and found out the name and date of birth of the drug dealer / main tenant of my neighborhood pharmacy. I was able to discover that his criminal record of felony – robbery, drug possession and more – dated back to 2002. And the police and narcotics detectives knew who he was and knew the occupants of the house were drug addicts. I was sad to learn that the drug house on my street was just one of the big five drug houses in my community, with some of them considered sources of fentanyl.

Third, organize your neighborhood against crime. Get to know your neighbors, agree to exchange contact information, addresses, cell phone numbers and email addresses. Let them all know the non-urgent dispatch number for the local police department and encourage them to call if they see any suspicious behavior. Talk to each other often, tell each other what one or more people know about what is going on in the pharmacy.

On August 3rd of this year, I sponsored a National Night Out Gathering / BBQ in my driveway. Some 30 to 40 neighbors and their children joined us. About 10 of us, at the end of the evening around sunset, walked our block carrying colorful posters with words ranging from “National Night Out and Crime Out” to, essentially, “This neighborhood. is strong.” We walked past the drugstore and, of course, the dealer and his buddies were in the aisle, watching us.

What happened in my neighborhood, with the drug dealer finally arrested for crimes and his illegal siphoning of electricity from PG&E and with the house eventually doomed, was the collective work of concerned neighbors. There is strength in numbers, to borrow a logo from the Golden State Warriors. The National Night Out event was a triumph over isolation amid COVID and 21st century life in general, and I have come to believe, as the New York Times columnist and scholar wrote. audience David Brooks in his 2019 book, “The Second Mountain: The Quest for Moral Living”: “Rebuilding community involves seeing that the neighborhood, not the individual, is the essential unit of social change.

– Richard Bammer is a writer for the Reporter team.

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