ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
A woman at the Dorr Township Board meeting Thursday night posed an important question as to whether a recent rash of local burglaries and car thefts is a troubling consequence of residential growth, urban sprawl.
The woman said her house was broken into not long ago and the thief was no dummy because he (or she) got what was wanted quickly and left the scene of the crime quickly. But rather than express admiration for the burglar’s efficiency, she expressed fear that too many local residents are being watched.
Indeed, there have been plenty of reports this year and last of break-ins, thefts of stuff inside vehicles and sometimes even the car or truck itself.
Posted on Facebook Thursday evening: “North Dorr, you have some prowlers out there tonight. Make sure your car doors are locked. So glad there was nothing to be taken and only left a mess behind pulling out the contents of the center console.”
The Wayland Police Department’s web site posted earlier this month: “We are investigating a rash of larcenies from motor vehicles that occurred in the northwest section of the city this morning (Dec. 5) between midnight and 3 a.m. We have apprehended one of the subjects involved so far and recovered some of the stolen property, but we believe there were possibly three to four subjects possibly involved. We are asking nearby residents for any information or video that could help. If you have any information that could be helpful to the investigation, please contact us.”
Last August, Wayland police reported, “We’ve had several car break-ins the last couple of days. ALL of them occurred to vehicles that had their windows down and/or their doors UNlocked. The time frame appears to be around midnight to the very early morning hours.
“(The incidents occurred at) Windsor Woods, Westbury Apts., Sawmill Estates, and West Elm Street. Two individuals were spotted and fled, but the description is very limited at this time.”
Perhaps the worst example took place just a little more than a week ago when a local woman’s vehicle was stolen from her driveway and then used in some nefarious activities afterward.
My premise is that Wayland, Dorr, Leighton and surrounding areas are becoming increasingly more attractive targets for undesirables intent on enriching themselves. Perhaps, as the woman suggested, this is a price we pay for living in small towns or rural areas.
The woman at the Dorr meeting also asked if there is any possibility of an increase of police presence. Dorr and Leighton townships share two deputies from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department.
But the City of Wayland certainly has a robust number of police officers and the city is home to a post of the Michigan State Police, not to mention closeness to the County Sheriff’s deputies and even the Gun Lake Tribal Police.
It could be argued that not enough police isn’t the problem here. We citizens must come to grips with the awful truth that we no longer can leave our homes, cars and trucks unlocked, as in “the good ole days.” So many people who now live here say they came to “get away from the city.” But now the city is following them to Wayland, Dorr, Leighton, etc.
So it’s up to us. We must heed the advice offered by City of Wayland Police on its web site:
“We would like to remind residents that to prevent thefts like these from occurring, remember to always lock your car doors. If you have expensive items you have to keep in your vehicle, lock them in your trunk. Remember – LOCK IT. HIDE IT. KEEP IT.”
If you have any information or saw something suspicious but haven’t reported it yet, please contact the Wayland Police at (269) 793-9366, or Allegan County non-emergency at (269) 673-3899. Callers can anonymously report it to Silent Observer at 1-855-Silent-0.