After being the victim of a series of car prowls, Kristen Granroth decided she’d had enough. She formed the Tiedman Road KP Neighborhood Watch Group on Facebook and started planning a strategy to deter crime.
“I have levels of deterrents: a gate and a fenced yard, a beware of dog sign, and a lighted area,” she said. “I want a more immediate, super-localized group with local control and access, rather than the broader-based group that meets in Key Center.”
Granroth invited a group of 15 to 20 to meet at the Lakebay Community Church in early May. Off-duty Deputy Dan Wulick of the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department attended with “straightforward, good information,” Granroth said. His advice to homeowners included installing surveillance video cameras, lights, signage, and starting a neighborhood watch group. “Make it uncomfortable for the criminals to commit crimes,” he told the group.
In an email to the Key Peninsula News, Wulick said, “The Peninsula Detachment really appreciated the opportunity to come out and talk to the community. It’s something we miss doing on a regular basis and hope that, in the future, we are able to do more community outreach. This neighborhood has truly encompassed the idea of ‘community policing’ and we are very supportive of their efforts.”
“It’s working, and it’s extremely doable because it’s small,” Granroth said. “It’s just our neighborhood.” She said that one of the car prowlers was caught committing another car prowl in Gig Harbor and was turned in to law enforcement when he was recognized on surveillance video.
Granroth ordered a neighborhood watch sign that was installed at the intersection of Herron and Tiedman Roads in early June. She intends to “keep engaging to keep up interest,” and is planning a neighborhood barbecue later this summer. The Facebook group was up to 54 members at press time.
Eric Erdman, a KP resident who attended the watch group meeting, said, “We should know our neighbors. We should know who they are and know what they drive.” He said he would approach suspicious cars and people with his “camera out. People who aren’t doing anything shameful can’t be shamed,” he said.