Don’t shoot the messenger. Literally. Don’t shoot the messenger – me.
I recently attended – and wrote an article for this very edition about – a public safety meeting Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies held to share tips about crime prevention with Los Altos Hills residents concerned about recent burglaries.
When asked to define “suspicious activity,” Capt. Ricardo Urena rattled off a few common characteristics of burglars: drives slowly through town while swiveling head (check!); carries a large backpack (check!); unrecognizable as a neighbor (check!).
Add to that “drives a beat-up, non-Tesla,” and you’re likely eyeballing me, your friendly community newspaper reporter/photographer. I drive slowly through town to avoid getting ticketed, I swivel my head because I’m usually lost on your winding roads, I carry a large backpack because it contains my camera equipment, I’m unrecognizable because you don’t attend city council meetings and I drive a turquoise Prius with a triangle-shaped chunk gouged from its bottom panel.
Last week, a gentleman pulled up alongside my car as I prepared to leave the scene of the pest control truck rollover on Alta Tierra Road. He wanted to know what happened, and I told him. But then he sized me up.
“You live around here?” he asked.
No, I don’t. I’m – comparatively – poor and hail from that ghetto to the south, Cupertino. Please don’t point your assault rifle at me or summon the cops. I mean you no harm.
Neither do Los Altos Hills arborists. I once interviewed the owner of an arboriculture company, and he shared an occupational hazard: Los Altos Hills residents repeatedly reporting his pickup as suspicious because he drives slowly and scans his surroundings while surveying specimens.
In all seriousness, an audience member at that Sept. 22 public safety meeting said he regularly reads the Town Crier (thank you!) but is disappointed in the lack of Los Altos Hills-related crime coverage (bummer). I took up the microphone and attempted to respond, but I misunderstood his question and instead seized the opportunity to plug myself as miner of “Forensic Files”-grade crime stories. (Call me, maybe? 948-9000).
I now believe the man was referring to our Police Blotter, which rarely features a Los Altos Hills incident. The reason for this is two-fold: The first, as a recent RoadSnacks.net article reported – Los Altos Hills is the fourth-most boring city in the state. The second reason is on me; until very recently, I didn’t realize that the Sheriff’s Office shares (limited) stats at losaltoshills.ca.gov/Archive.aspx?AMID=42. It’s not detailed intel and it can be a bit dated, but I am prepared to offer you, dear reader, a solemn vow: I will try my very best. I will continue to pester Capt. Urena, Lt. Robert Durr and the whole of the West Valley Division of the Sheriff’s Office to deliver your delicious crime stats. Perhaps I even succeeded this week – check page 4 for confirmation?
And to the gentleman who called me out during the meeting for misprinting the amount of money stolen during his own 2015 burglary, I apologize.