Monday, September 3, 2012

And the Winner Is. . . Us!

Last evening, I heard a car hit another something or other as I was about to retire for bed.  It seemed like it was close by, but not right in front of my residence.  So I thought I'd check it out and see what's going on.  Mobile cellular telephone in hand, of course, in order to contact the authorities.

Wouldn't you know. . . I and some of my neighbors found a car that had been sideswiped while it had been parked at the curb on the street.  Not nice.  Before I knew it, here came the driver of the car that hit the parked damaged car, with alcohol on his breath, confessing to hitting the parked car with his own car. 

By now half the block was awake, and either there where I was with this man by the damaged parked car, or walking towards the spot.  Lots of witnesses to his confession.  He even said he had been drinking alcohol before he got in his car to drive it.  To top it off, he's a three tour veteran of the Iraq peacekeeping operation.  Not a good scene for him, but far better than to do a hit and run.  Truth is always the way to go.

Saying he was sorry, he walked back to his car up the street.  From there, he was met with a California Highway Patrol officer and directed back to the spot where he hit the parked car.  Upon confession to the officer, he was put into the patrol car and taken away apparently to be booked on DUI/DWI and property damage to another vehicle charges. 

The parked car's owner appeared, letting the assembled crowd know of his presence.  Fire Department and tow truck assistance made their way to the scene, doing the mop up work that needed to be done to return the roadway to pre-accident condition.  Good job by law enforcement, Fire and tow truck operations.  Help came as quickly as possible, and was well underway a half hour after the accident. 

The bad news here is there was a preventable accident that occurred.  The good news is that no one was hurt, and the neighborhood was paying attention to what was going on.  One of the factors in getting the neighborhood aware and involved is the recent (re)formation of the local Neighborhood Watch.  It's next meeting is tomorrow, just coincidentally at the site where the arrested driver (allegedly) hit the curb with his tire, leaving tire markings on the curb from my residence location on southward. 

This will be the fourth meeting of the Neighborhood Watch meetings where I live, and by now, the neighbors are used to getting notified of the meetings and being more aware and involved with fellow residents all along the street.  It was easy to remind them of tomorrow's meeting while they were all there watching the aftermath of the accident.  I could just say a few words, and they immediately remembered!  I expect an excellent turnout tomorrow as a result of the unfortunate accident, and the regular communications given to let residents know of the Neighborhood Watch meetings.

This is how a Neighborhood Watch, and a neighborhood is supposed to function.  When something happens, notify the authorites.  Get license plate numbers and descriptions of the driver.  Watch the scene until law enforcement arrives.  All of this was done by not just one person, but by more than one.  It's working, just the way the Community Relations Sheriff's Deputy said it would.  And I rejoice in a working, functional, healthy, reponsive community.  There's hope for this neighborhood after all!  And we're just beginning. . . It will get better than it currently is over time. 

Thanks be to God, who gives us more than we could ever imagine. . . more than we could ask or think.  Is this place Heaven?  Far from it.  But is it better than a lot of other neighborhoods where I live in my region?  By a long shot!

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