The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 6, 2009


A neighbor’s call to the police can help thwart a crime

Having read a number of articles by Kathleen Coyle in the Mosquito focusing on recent burglaries and housebreaks in Carlisle, I decided to learn more. Her interview with Police Lt. Leo Crowe (Mosquito Oct.23) was very informative, but there still were questions I wanted to ask. On Friday, October 30, I met with Police Chief John Sullivan and here is what I learned:

As Sullivan expressed it, “Within the last year, when the economy tanked, crime went up.” With unemployment at almost 10%, Sullivan views the situation like a see-saw. “When the economy goes down, crime goes up – this is an affluent community and a lot of what is going on in Carlisle, is going on all over.”

Sullivan views the downturn in the economy and also heroin addiction as being related to what has been happening in our area. Carlisle, as part of North East Municipal Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC), gets intelligence on what is going on in the 50 communities in this area of the state. “Within the last 12 months, there have been nine housebreaks in Carlisle. Through intelligence from NEMLEC and calls from alert residents, we learned there was one group of four or five committing some of these crimes,” explained Sullivan. “We solved a number of these housebreaks in Carlisle and stopped many more. We caught them, but they are now out on bail, and more houses could be broken into,” he added. It is clear we should all be locking our doors. Suspicious vehicles should be reported, with plate number and as complete a description as possible.

There have been two rashes of car break-ins in Carlisle, one on the west side of town, and one on the east side. “Laptops, GPS, money – it matters what you leave in your car,” reported Sullivan. For now, the break-ins have stopped, but cars should be locked, even when parked in your own driveway.

What about solicitors coming to the house, I ask? “Some groups are required to register, others not. I have a list of solicitors who are prohibited from coming to your door. If you are uncomfortable, call the police,” was Sullivan’s advice. As Police Lt. Leo Crowe explained it to Coyle, “If you see a suspicious person on your property, call the police . . . an unknown individual at your back door should be considered suspicious.”

Alarm systems? Sullivan reports that there have been 2,035 alarm calls so far in 2009. “That is fine, precaution is always good,” said Sullivan. “Alarms will stop and frighten them away, and we don’t mind responding. Set your alarm and make sure you use it.”

Making your house look lived in when you are away is important. Leave a car parked in the driveway; inform neighbors when you are going away; call police so they can make house checks while you are away; all this is important.

“We are a mobile society,” explained Sullivan. “We don’t have a fence around Carlisle. Be attentive and alert. Should you call the police? I want all doubts to stop -– call the police immediately, and we will respond!” ∆

There’s no place like home

Janice and I returned two weeks ago from a three-week tour of Europe, most of which was spent in Germany. All along our travels in Germany and elsewhere, we saw ample evidence of the European commitment to energy conservation. There were wind turbines on many horizons, and many rooftops were clad in solar panels. The houses and barns had solar, so did the sheds behind the barns! The government provides low interest loans and pays above-market rates to buy the power generated, thus making it a wash from a cash flow standpoint for someone to install panels. After a 15-20 year payback period the homeowner will be in net plus territory.

In stark contrast to this is the open pit coal mining that has been ongoing in Germany. We visited such a site near Cologne where there is a gash in the earth that is three miles long, 1.5 miles wide, and 1,000 feet deep. The government condemned the town that had been on the site and literally moved it to a new location, giving the former residents a fresh start, albeit without their former neighborhood configurations. As I scanned the scene, I saw the mammoth mining equipment taking Volkswagon-sized bites out of the earth. I also saw a wind turbine on the horizon and, 90 degrees from it, I saw the smokestacks of three separate coal burning generating plants. It seemed a metaphor for what is happening in Europe; they are looking ahead with great optimism, yet they are held captive by their past. A case in point is the great cathedral in Cologne which is a treasure to be sure, but is also a burden on the taxpayers to maintain. The cathedral has turned black from acid rain, yet they will be burning strip-mined soft coal in Germany for the next 30-40 years.

We also saw the effects of a shrinking and aging native population; the inflow of Turkish “guest workers”; and the heavy tax burden. The average German works until past mid-July to pay his taxes. On the other hand, the average American only works until the first week in May for the government. There is also a growing sense of animosity toward those on welfare who are deemed to be capable of working productively (read, “those damned Turks”).

We read and hear a lot about Europe and the European “lifestyle” and it is overwhelmingly positive. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot to like about it. What’s not to like about beer and wine costing less than Coke and bottled water?

Having grown up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I feel more at home in Germany than I sometimes do in Massachusetts. Yet, it is very clear to me that we are a country that is not chained to the past. When I arrived at Logan, I somehow felt more free and less burdened. When I arrived in Carlisle, I thought that no place I visited in Europe was as beautiful as my home town. We are “sloppy” in many ways when compared to Europe, but we are also the fairest, most open and most generous country in the history of the planet.



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