Saturday, October 9, 2010

Whidbey Island Watch

Mollie writes:

Living on an island does have its drawbacks.  I went grocery shopping and paid twice as much for some food as I would have paid on the mainland.  But by the time I left home, took the ferry, did all the driving, shopped, took the ferry back to Whidbey and drove back home, carbon footprints, hours and bucks would have been involved.  So, I shop locally and pay more.

One of the plusses about living on an island is crime prevention and security, a big issue for most of the parents I know.  There are no real strangers here, once tourist season ends.  If someone is talking to your child, we all know who it is and what the conversation was about.  You can look up registered sexual offenders on the State of Washington website and know how close one lives to your home, and, more importantly, who they are.  That isn't to say we have no crime, but we have very little.

Going anywhere off the island is a major production.   The ferry on the south end runs every 1/2 hour during the daytime, every hour in the evenings, and shuts down completely at night.  The only other ferry on the island runs less frequently because of tides.  It often shuts down completely if the tide is low.  This ferry is on the central part of this 41 mile long island.

Then, there's the Deception Pass Bridge.  It is breathtakingly beautiful, but is also breathtakingly hard to maneuver.  The lanes are narrow, the speed is 25 MPH, and passage is on to another island, Fidalgo.  Oh, and you have to pass through Oak Harbor, home of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, where multiple military families live, and yes, keep an eye on things.  So this place is pretty safe.

It has to be, there's no place to hide!

So I was surprised to get an e-mail from a gardening friend who lives not far from me.  It seems she and her husband came home from dinner out to find somebody had parked a car on their five acre spread and was skulking around their house.   They called the police on their cell phone and returned to the highway, only to watch the potential perp get into his car and drive off.

But you just don't get far on Whidbey Island.  The cops arrived at my friend's home and got a complete description of the prowler, his car AND his license plate number.  But the pursuit didn't stop there.

Maura went to her PC and alerted all of her buds of her ordeal. The next thing you know, her e-mail goes viral on the island and everyone and their Labradoodle is on the lookout for a 85 Oldsmobile Cutlass, beige,  license plate # &*&%$$# (number withheld to protect the guilty).  So the perp was rounded up, brought to task, and all was handled Island-style.

Now we can't all live on an island, though it would be nice.  But we can take a more active role in crime prevention.  If you see a crime in progress, call it in.  Be a good citizen and give the cops as much information as you can safely retrieve.  Take photos with your cell phone, if you can.

And let folks know.  I don't care if it's bullying, sexual molestation or grand theft garden gnome, we all deserve a peaceful place to live.

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