9-1-1 Your Invited

Have you had an emergency serious enough to call 9-1-1 and wonder what happens after your call is answered?
Let me share 2 recent events that happened in my neighborhood.

In August I heard a light tapping and went to investigate and the tapping stopped. A few seconds later the tapping continued. It came from the direction of my front door and when I checked the “peep hole” I saw two young men standing there. I was trying to determine if they were neighbors, but didn’t recognize either man, when all of a sudden one man backed up and went to a window. I saw him cup his hand around his eyes as he attempted to look in my window.
The man left standing at the door proceeded to bang loud enough to wake the dead. Now I had no illusion as to what was happening, and I was damn mad, and did a foolish thing.
I stormed out my door and confronted him asking what he wanted. He gave the standard answer asking if “Tony” was home. I told him there was no “Tony” at this address and if I didn’t answer the door was that telling them no one was home and they were free to break in and steal whatever they wanted.
The guy at the window ran for the car and jumped into the open back door, followed by the second man. They were considerate enough to back into the driveway so I could read their license plate. I called 9-1-1 to report the incident and within minutes there was an officer at my door. A few minutes later another officer arrived and I was told they were dispatched at the same time. While the officer was at my front door the other canvassed the neighborhood looking for the car.
The officer took a report and then advised me to never, ever open the door and confront anyone again. I new it was a foolish thing to do, but I was so angry to think they would come into my home, destroy my peace of mind, and steal what I worked so hard for.
So finishing my story let me warn you to not ignore strangers at your door. Let them know someone is home without opening the door. I offer you a few suggestions on what to say.
“Just a minute while I wake my son, the police officer”.
“One moment please while I put my shotgun down, I’m in the process of cleaning it”.
“Please wait while I bring my Rottweiler in from the backyard”.
The police officer explained the light tapping at my door was to see if I had a dog in the home. A dog would hear the tapping long before I did and warn unsavory people there was a dog inside ready to protect his home/master.

Another recent incident that happened last weekend.
A neighbor was coming home from work and saw a group of at least four young men walking the neighborhood at 3:30 AM. He pulled into his driveway and observed them walking up driveways and checking car doors. When they arrived at his car he opened the door and stepped out while asking what they were doing. They scattered like the cockroaches they are. The sad end of the story—He didn’t call 9-1-1, but neighbors with outside cameras picked them all up, working both sides of the street.
All these young men did was move onto another neighborhood hoping to get lucky.

It upsets me when residents complain about crime in their neighborhood, but do nothing to help the police catch these criminals.
You can’t turn on the news or read a paper that doesn’t tell the story about car jacking, and loss of property because people can’t be bothered to lock their car doors and leave valuables in plain sight.

Did you know a police officer will visit your homeowners association meeting and talk to residents about keeping yourself and your property safe from people who would do you harm. An officer came to our meeting and the one suggestion that stuck in my mind was do not leave your garage door opener in your car if you park outside. That will allow easy access to your home. That was one of many excellent suggestions given.

With all that said the Dispatch Center at the City West Palm Beach Police Dept. has extended an invitation to all concerned citizens who would like to learn about the City’s 9-1-1 system which will include what to expect when you call, why they ask the questions they do, why they need the information they ask, how calls are prioritized for service, calls from cell phones vs residential phones, among other topics.
The presentation could be life saving to you and your loved ones.

It is my understanding there is much misconception concerning 9-1-1 calls so please consider attending the Power Point Presentation, listen to the people who deal with thousands of calls a year in order to keep you and your neighborhood safe.

Information is a powerful tool and the WPBPD is reaching out to residents, asking for help, and asking residents to do whatever possible to keep crime from their neighborhood and that starts with a 9-1-1 call. Please consider attending. What have you got to lose, except crime.

The Meeting Place & Date:
WPB Police Station 600 Banyan Blvd
Oct. 25, 2016 (Tues.) at 7:00 PM

Business Owners & Citizens of the City of West Palm Beach please join us for a presentation with a Q & A session about the functions of the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center
Please reserve your spot by e-mail to: [email protected]


Between writing this story and publishing it the neighbor with the outside cameras made a copy of the men checking the cars in our neighborhood for the police. Hopefully the police will recognize the crew, but I’m not sure what can be done at this time. It would have been better if the man watching them made the call, and the police could have caught them in the act. ? Lost opportunity.