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Anyone else see such activity? I am on higher alert and staying away from certain zones.

Certain zones? I suspect with the exception of the very few pockets of sanity still undiscovered by the gangs and the marxists, we’re all in the zone. Our neighborhood was virtually crime free until about three years ago. The ONLY thing that happened was an occasional middle-of-the-night smash-and-grab of a car stereo or object stupidly left on the seat in a vehicle parked out on the street. We never had vehicles broken into around here if they were in carports or even just parked up off the street by the house, and until three years ago I’m not aware of a single home break-in. That’s all changed. While one group has been taken off the street temporarily and incidents have decreased, we’ve had daylight thefts from carports, yards, and even daylight home invasions in what used to be a safe, peaceful neighborhood quite a way from “the city.” Dogs have been stolen out of locked yards, yard equipment from back yards, along with the usual high value items when homes are actually broken into (again, most DURING broad daylight). A couple out walking fairly recently (a very common activity in this area due to our out-of-the-way location with no “through streets”) had a vehicle slow down and a handgun come out the window, pointed directly at the husband. They were too scared to get a license plate number.

At least a fair number of the nearby residents have banded together and we have a sort of reporting system, with email alerts containing descriptions of vehicles, individuals, etc. (wish we had the phone apps that they’ve got in South Africa!). Exterior lighting of houses dramatically increased in the past year or so, though with the slacking off in number of incidents recently, people are stupidly saving pennies on electricity because of complacency and the neighborhood is getting darker again.

One other factor we’ve noted is that what was once a very stable neighborhood, with almost all owner-occupied homes, has had a lot of foreclosures or deaths of owners, and “investors” have swooped in and bought up a lot of houses as rentals. What’s moving into the rentals is often very suspect, with one home just a couple of blocks away being a known drug distribution point that for some reason police aren’t touching. We suspect at least two or three more of the same, just not as certain.

The bottom line is that with such rare exceptions as to be inconsequential, there are no more “zones” to stay away from. Vigilance (and protection) are in order at all times and places, any more.