Category Archives: Neighborhood Watch

Husky vs. porcupine in Waterbury

“Or dog Sarah is back. Many thanks to everyone who kept an eye out for her, and to Joel and Dale who took her to the hospital for the quills. I love that we have moved to a community with Front Porch Forum and caring neighbors. Thank you, everyone.”
• Laura, Waterbury FPF

Williamstown break-in and neighbor connection

“New to the forum and felt this is the next best thing to the cops doing their due diligence. Yesterday, my wife arrived home to find that our house was broken into and a number of things were taken. I’m waiting to hear back from the Post Office to see if the carrier noticed any suspicious vehicles. Looks like we’ll be purchasing an alarm system to at least help deter them during the day. Any other suggestions please let me know. Thanks for all you do on Front Porch Forum!”
• Patrick, Williamstown FPF

Missing dogs… 1-day Max and 17-day Darby

Many lost pets find their way back home thanks to watchful neighbors who connect through Front Porch Forum.  Here are two examples from this week.  The first occurred over a single day, while the second example spanned more than two weeks!

“Max, a middle-age male pug, went missing from around Lee/Briggs Roads around 7am Tuesday, April 5. He was with a larger black dog, who was found on the road, but there is no sign of Max. He’s super friendly, and we hope some good citizen picked him up to keep him safe. Please email me immediately if you have seen or picked up Max…we are very worried.”
• Dody, Guilford FPF

“We found Max!! Thank you Marianne and Gordon. And FPF!”
• Dody, Guilford FPF later the same day


“Darby is home, safe, warm and fed, with her foster fail family (Sally) after 17 days on the run.

“She covered a lot of ground in Essex and Essex Junction over those days. From Upland Drive to Essex Way to Pinewood Manor to Perkins Bend (several times) to ADL to Five Corners to the dam bridge to Route 15 near Lang Farm to Essex Way (again) to Grove Street and the railroad tracks and finally back to Upland Drive – no doubt she saw parts of this town most of us never will.

“After catching Darby on a trailcam back on Upland, we decided the time was right to set the trap and see what happened. We knew she might not go in it the first night since she had eaten a fairly big meal of McDonald’s hamburgers the night before. With fingers crossed, we watched and waited. She looped by it several times around sunset, checking it out, not sure. She wanted the food. She gobbled up the few small pieces outside the trap. And left. Once darkness fell, she was back. She checked it out again several times, looked around and then went in. She managed to NOT step on the trigger plate, gobbled a few bites and walked out of the trap!! Luckily she wanted more bread spread with bacon fat and scrambled eggs cooked with liquid smoke so back in she went. This time she stepped a little closer, reached a little further and the trap slammed shut. She spun around from the noise but eventually realized she wasn’t getting out so she finished eating and laid down. The end of her 17 day shenanigans.

“Darby is a little thin and had a bunch of ticks removed but otherwise in good health. No injuries – not even a scratch – and ready to eat some real food and get back to her family life.

“We have so many people to thank!

“Everyone who watched for her, called in a sighting, read a sign or a post here or on Front Porch Forum, all the “shares” and emails… Thank you all! Every little bit helped and kept us motivated. Thank you to all at Perkins Bend where several of us tromped in and out of your backyards several times a day (and night) to check the feeding station there. Thank you for listening to everyone we spoke to and for those of you that approached us letting us know you were watching. Thank you to the Essex Police who fielded calls when Darby was zipping in and out of traffic in the junction. Thank you to all the anonymous people who drove around looking for Darby. Thank you to Sally and Wole, Kristi, Lisa and Lorei – could not have managed her safe recapture without each of you and your help and support. (Thanks also to Bill and my mother for listening to me drone on endlessly…)

“I will removing the signs around town over the next day or so…

“Darby is enjoying her new bed and some well deserved rest. Happy life Darby!”
• Michele, Essex FPF

South Burlington burglary… how to minimize loss

Posted on a South Burlington Front Porch Forum yesterday…

As many of you know by now, our house was broken into and burglarized during the day on Friday. Most of our technology/electronics/computers were stolen, along with many personal affects, most of our jewelry/ watches , and, any cash/coins that were hanging around– including what was in our kids’ piggy banks! At some point the burglars were interrupted and fled, as evidenced by the fact that our 2 televisions were disconnected, one ripped from its wall bracket, but left behind! Not a pretty scene to come home to right before the school bus arrives.

Now that things have settled a bit, we thought that the most helpful thing for us to do for our community would be to share what we’ve learned from this experience to help others better protect themselves. Heavens knows, we got A LOT of advice online from others’ misfortunes, so it only seems fitting to pay it forward !

First off, the burglars DID NOT get in through an open or unlocked window or door. These burglars BROKE OUR LOCKED WINDOW WITH A CROWBAR!!! We say this not to frighten you, but to highlight that despite being ” vigilant” about locking up our house, AND having had a neighbor call the police to report suspicious people and activity earlier that morning, we still got robbed !!! So, taking every precaution to secure your house and report suspicious people is paramount, but not fool proof . What we really want to impart to you is to PLEASE, PLEASE TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT THE THINGS THAT ARE DEAREST AND MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU. YOU WILL BE HAPPY YOU DID! Having your television or laptop stolen is awful, but losing your mom’s special necklace, or all of your family photos, or having your identity stolen and your credit ruined are MUCH WORSE and QUITE PREVENTABLE .

Here are a few things we are happy that we did, and others that we learned the hard way. We hope these are helpful to you :

1) Password protect all of your computers. Doing so will make it more difficult for the next person on your computer to access your frequently used websites, vital bank or personal information stored on it.

2) If you have any mac iproducts , activate the ” find my iPhone/ iPad/iMac feature ON EACH ONE. This may not lead you to your thief, but it WILL allow you to lock your items remotely or erase them remotely to protect their contents or things associated with your identity .

3) BACK UP YOUR TREASURED PHOTOS , VIDEOS and IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS on disks/drive/ time machine/ or memory sticks of some sort. I cannot stress enough how devastated we would be if we did not have backups of all of our photos of our kids and they had disappeared out the door with our laptop! Really, DO THIS ONE!

4) photograph and/or keep serial numbers of your valuables and electronics. It makes it easier to ID them and report them to your insurance company, police and pawn shops. Open up and photograph the contents of drawers that hold valuable stuff (jewelry, photo equipment, video recorders, passports etc). It will help you see what might have gone missing.

5) REMEMBER–one person’s treasure may be another person’s trash. What may be a treasure to you (old concert tickets , family heirlooms, baby things) is trash to a thief if it has no resale value. So BE SELECTIVE ABOUT WHERE YOU KEEP TREASURED ITEMS THAT YOU DON’T USE ON A REGULAR BASIS. I’m never going to lock up the jewelry that I wear every day. However, I did keep other priceless mementos in my jewelry box, which means that when the thieves turned my jewelry box upside down and emptied it contents into a bag, I lost some treasured sentimental things that surely ended up in their trash because they had no monetary value. STORE YOUR IRREPLACEABLE SENTIMENTAL ITEMS IN A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX , or hide them somewhere crafty –not in the master bedroom or office!

6) if you store lots of valuable personal information on a laptop, you may want to consider signing up for an identity protection plan ( LifeLock, ID Shield etc) that would assist you and monitor any suspicious activity if your wallet, phone or computer were stolen or hacked.

The fact is that we are not perfect, nor are our kids. And none of us is always going to close every curtain in the house, or stash the laptop out of view when we dash out the door, or even remember to close an open window on a stiflingly hot day . Things happen. Hey, fires happen. And what we’ve learned from being burglarized is that the best defense against a break-in (or a fire) is to have ALREADY SAFEGUARDED YOUR VALUED STUFF & IDENTITY, so that if it does happen, it stings a little less :)

Local TV news… fear-mongering or reporting on crime? (Burlington burglaries)

One day and 3,000 miles apart, two local TV newscasts took diametrically opposed approaches covering crime and local online forums.

KGET20160310KGET-17 in Bakersfield, CA asked multiple times in their story (Neighborhood safety apps and websites, are they actually safe?) if services such as Front Porch Forum, NextDoor, EveryBlock and AmericanTowns are safe to use.  While a local police sergeant advised caution about what a user shares — which is good, common sense, advice — his point that the Bakersfield Police Dept. has “only seen the programs used in a positive way” was buried in the closing sentence.

WPTZ20160311Meanwhile, in an unrelated story the next day in Burlington, VT (Police see city-wide spike in burglaries), WPTZ-5 reported that the local police chief had just posted on Front Porch Forum — to which more than 75% of local households subscribe — about a string of burglaries.  The Chief provided details and told his FPF readers that “the department is using plainclothes, unmarked and patrol units to track down those responsible.”

We’re pleased that law enforcement in Vermont finds value in Front Porch Forum, and that local media here mine FPF for story leads.  FPF is part of a healthy local media ecosystem and we’re glad to play our role.

Sammy back home in Jericho… sleeping like a pup

130206142433-snow-golden-deuce-irpt-horizontal-large-gallery“My dog got out last night around 10:00pm. My husband is out of town and I could only look for him for about an hour with our 18-month-old. I am really worried because his tag only has my husband’s cell on it. His name is Sammy and he likes to wonder down by Raceway. Please if anyone see him if you can call or email me.”
• Kendra, Jericho Front Porch Forum

“I’m writing to express my gratitude to Linda, who cared for my energetic 10-year-old golden retriever late last night and this morning. Additionally I also want to thank everybody who responded to my FPF post… I really appreciate being part of such an amazing community. SAMMY is exhausted from his journey and is sleeping like a little pup. Again thank you all!”
• Kendra, Jericho FPF later the same day

New North End Nora home now

“This is a huge thank you not only to Milia for taking such wonderful care of our dog Nora when she went missing Wednesday night, but for all of you who saw our notices on Front Porch Forum and made sure we connected. Nora came home from Lucky Puppies this afternoon. Happy New Year everyone.”
• Kim, Ethan Allen FPF in Burlington