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Thieves turn Scripps Ranch from serene to scary

Six break-ins in six weeks was just the beginning

All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly.
All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly.

My neighborhood in Scripps Ranch was a peaceful place. Old couples walked and young children played. On weekdays, the announcement bell of the elementary school beside it rang through the streets, followed by the cheerful squeals and hollers of the kids going to lunch. Other than the bell, the laughter, and the chirping of birds, my neighborhood was rather quiet. Not the lonely quiet; it was more of a calm and happy serenity. I felt safe. Scripps Ranch never got much trouble. Kids walked home from school or to the library or to one of the many Starbucks locations without feeling worried about anything happening to them. I was one of those kids, but now I am not.

It all started two years ago during the holiday season. People were excited and joy was in the air. They ordered gifts for their families and waited anxiously for them to arrive. The mailman delivered the packages, like he always did. But one morning, while my dad was walking the dogs in the hours before sunrise, he noticed something strange about the houses. Each and every mailbox was wide open, and not a single package stood in front of the doors. The neighborhood had been robbed.

By the time my dad got home from work that day, the head of the neighborhood had already notified the police and they began an investigation. All the security cameras that people owned were checked, but nothing useful was found. They saw people and a car but no license plate was captured. We were all disappointed and frightened. Why was it that, out of all places, they robbed us?

After the incident, people went on with their lives. They reordered the gifts and made sure to watch them more closely. Then it happened again a month later. It was no longer an isolated incident. The police were called again, and people began to take matters into their own hands. More security cameras were installed facing the streets and we made sure to collect mail as soon as it arrived. But the robbers continued to come.. About once a month, and for many months. My once quiet neighborhood was no longer at peace.

Scripps Ranch Crime Map

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Eventually, the police caught two of the people involved. The thefts stopped and things began to settle down. The robbers were said to be from South Bay and although I was not exactly sure why they targeted us, I learned that living in a good neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no crime. In fact, I learned that for certain crimes, nice neighborhoods tend to be the targets.

Prior to the thefts, people never worried about getting robbed. They left their garages open, didn’t worry about locking their doors, and didn’t have much protection. And after the thefts stopped, they went back to their carefree lives. That was a mistake. The following year, robbers struck again, but they didn’t stop at the mailbox. The news spread throughout my neighborhood: the house directly across from ours had been robbed. The owner of the home was upstairs during the robbery. His brother had gone out and he was expecting him home that night. At around 3 am, when the owner was in bed, he heard a sound downstairs. He thought nothing of it, thinking it was his brother. But an unknown man had crawled through an unlocked window, stolen a laptop, a purse, and car keys, and left — all in a matter of seconds.

He filed a police report, but without security cameras, there was not much they could do. There was a tracker on the laptop, but the thief must have realized it; he left it in a mailbox a few blocks away.

That burglary was one of six break-ins in Scripps Ranch that took place in the span of six weeks. In four of the six cases, the burglars crept up to the house through empty hillsides and entered through the back of the homes. I suspect that these incidents are connected to another issue. Recently, Scripps Ranch has been getting filled with homeless people, and many have settled down in large groups by the freeway. When my mom and I were driving under the bridge of the freeway, we saw maybe 30 homeless people with tents and shopping carts getting talked to by two police officers. We had never seen anything like that.  Also, our local Vons has been getting robbed constantly. At night, a load of people run in, grab stuff — mostly alcohol — and quickly get away.  One of my neighbors saw an abandoned shopping cart near where the homeless slept and she decided to take a peek. The cart was filled to the rim with clearly stolen meat and other produce, proving the criminal activities of the homeless. Perhaps the Vons robberies are connected to the home robberies — the homeless attempting to get food and money. My family is also so scared of being caught in a burglary that they refuse to go to Vons after it gets dark.

All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly. Recently, one person saw something strange. At around 1 am, a man was creeping around the hillside behind our homes. He was hiding behind bushes and looking into houses. He tested the doors and the windows to see if any were unlocked. 

My neighborhood used to feel so safe and calm. But now it’s like everyone is waiting and expecting for more things to happen. My dad put up motion activated security cameras, and whenever my parents leave for work, I have to lock up every door and study downstairs so I can keep an eye out for intruders. My parents even developed a safety plan for if someone does try to enter our home. This isn’t how it should be. I shouldn’t have to live my life in fear of something bad happening. I should feel safe in the comfort of my own home.

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All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly.
All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly.

My neighborhood in Scripps Ranch was a peaceful place. Old couples walked and young children played. On weekdays, the announcement bell of the elementary school beside it rang through the streets, followed by the cheerful squeals and hollers of the kids going to lunch. Other than the bell, the laughter, and the chirping of birds, my neighborhood was rather quiet. Not the lonely quiet; it was more of a calm and happy serenity. I felt safe. Scripps Ranch never got much trouble. Kids walked home from school or to the library or to one of the many Starbucks locations without feeling worried about anything happening to them. I was one of those kids, but now I am not.

It all started two years ago during the holiday season. People were excited and joy was in the air. They ordered gifts for their families and waited anxiously for them to arrive. The mailman delivered the packages, like he always did. But one morning, while my dad was walking the dogs in the hours before sunrise, he noticed something strange about the houses. Each and every mailbox was wide open, and not a single package stood in front of the doors. The neighborhood had been robbed.

By the time my dad got home from work that day, the head of the neighborhood had already notified the police and they began an investigation. All the security cameras that people owned were checked, but nothing useful was found. They saw people and a car but no license plate was captured. We were all disappointed and frightened. Why was it that, out of all places, they robbed us?

After the incident, people went on with their lives. They reordered the gifts and made sure to watch them more closely. Then it happened again a month later. It was no longer an isolated incident. The police were called again, and people began to take matters into their own hands. More security cameras were installed facing the streets and we made sure to collect mail as soon as it arrived. But the robbers continued to come.. About once a month, and for many months. My once quiet neighborhood was no longer at peace.

Scripps Ranch Crime Map

Sponsored
Sponsored

Eventually, the police caught two of the people involved. The thefts stopped and things began to settle down. The robbers were said to be from South Bay and although I was not exactly sure why they targeted us, I learned that living in a good neighborhood doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no crime. In fact, I learned that for certain crimes, nice neighborhoods tend to be the targets.

Prior to the thefts, people never worried about getting robbed. They left their garages open, didn’t worry about locking their doors, and didn’t have much protection. And after the thefts stopped, they went back to their carefree lives. That was a mistake. The following year, robbers struck again, but they didn’t stop at the mailbox. The news spread throughout my neighborhood: the house directly across from ours had been robbed. The owner of the home was upstairs during the robbery. His brother had gone out and he was expecting him home that night. At around 3 am, when the owner was in bed, he heard a sound downstairs. He thought nothing of it, thinking it was his brother. But an unknown man had crawled through an unlocked window, stolen a laptop, a purse, and car keys, and left — all in a matter of seconds.

He filed a police report, but without security cameras, there was not much they could do. There was a tracker on the laptop, but the thief must have realized it; he left it in a mailbox a few blocks away.

That burglary was one of six break-ins in Scripps Ranch that took place in the span of six weeks. In four of the six cases, the burglars crept up to the house through empty hillsides and entered through the back of the homes. I suspect that these incidents are connected to another issue. Recently, Scripps Ranch has been getting filled with homeless people, and many have settled down in large groups by the freeway. When my mom and I were driving under the bridge of the freeway, we saw maybe 30 homeless people with tents and shopping carts getting talked to by two police officers. We had never seen anything like that.  Also, our local Vons has been getting robbed constantly. At night, a load of people run in, grab stuff — mostly alcohol — and quickly get away.  One of my neighbors saw an abandoned shopping cart near where the homeless slept and she decided to take a peek. The cart was filled to the rim with clearly stolen meat and other produce, proving the criminal activities of the homeless. Perhaps the Vons robberies are connected to the home robberies — the homeless attempting to get food and money. My family is also so scared of being caught in a burglary that they refuse to go to Vons after it gets dark.

All the crimes made my neighbors start to check their security cameras regularly. Recently, one person saw something strange. At around 1 am, a man was creeping around the hillside behind our homes. He was hiding behind bushes and looking into houses. He tested the doors and the windows to see if any were unlocked. 

My neighborhood used to feel so safe and calm. But now it’s like everyone is waiting and expecting for more things to happen. My dad put up motion activated security cameras, and whenever my parents leave for work, I have to lock up every door and study downstairs so I can keep an eye out for intruders. My parents even developed a safety plan for if someone does try to enter our home. This isn’t how it should be. I shouldn’t have to live my life in fear of something bad happening. I should feel safe in the comfort of my own home.

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