Recent instances of panhandlers have been reported here in Corn Hill: “A guy rang our doorbell at 8 a.m. on Sunday. He actually rang twice when we didn’t answer the first time.” “We had two guys (one at a time) knock on our door asking for money because they ran out of gas. The first time I was accommodating. He said he’d pay me back by slipping the money under the mat the next day. He didn’t and about a week later another guy came by with the same story. I said no this time” Panhandlers and scam artists are always around; their appearances tend to be cyclical. Police advise neighbors to respond to these requests by stating, “Please wait here and I’ll call 911 for assistance for you.” The panhandler will disappear very quickly. It is essential that we call 911 immediately anyway because the police are familiar with these people and their particular situation–homelessness, mental problems, etc.
In a previous instance on Troup Street, a woman with four children knocked on a neighbors door very upset that their car had broken down “around the corner” and could she come in and phone her husband. The neighbor allowed them in, whereupon the four children, who had been carefully trained, fanned out in every direction taking as much as they could carry from rooms before the neighbor could even call the police. NEVER let strangers into your home! Again, sympathetically state, “Please wait here and I’ll call 911 for assistance.”
Statistically, crime stats during the month of December are the largest here in Corn Hill. Decorative wreaths have been stolen from doors on one street and then sold to unsuspecting neighbors on another street. One neighbor encountered a thief attempting to sell his wreath at the Public Market several days later! Christmas Eve has frequently been an opportune time for knocks at our doors asking for money for “a sick child without food,” “an automobile that has run out of gas,” etc. At this holiday season when we’re feeling especially charitable and just about to sit down to our own sumptuous meal it’s tempting to give in to these requests. Remember, those who encourage this behavior thereby create a market in our neighborhood that becomes a problem for the rest of us. if scam artists are unsuccessful here, they’ll be less inclined to hang around.
Following your Christmas morning unwrapping of gifts, avoid placing packing materials at the curb until trash pick up day. Why let would-be thieves know that you’ve gotten a new television for Christmas? The holiday seasons are upon us. It’s important that we all follow practices that keep our neighborhood safe.