Friday, August 08, 2008

North Boulder Crime Wave

My sleepy North Boulder neighborhood has been experiencing a rash of thefts, assaults and even a murder the other night. The thieves are foxes stealing wallets, cell phones, shoes, etc. off the decks of unsuspecting residents. The fact that my neighbors leave their wallets unattended outside on their decks tells you just how used to crime we are. The assaults are caused by mule deer defending their young. They give birth in people's yards then attack to defend their young. If you're with a dog you're even more of a target because you're more of a threat. Some woman walking her dog on a street 2-3 blocks away has been repeatedly attacked. Apparently mule deer are among the most aggressive mammals when it comes to defending their young, something I did not know. A deer gave birth in the neighbor's yard a few houses down and I've seen plenty of deer with babies while walking the dogs but so far have not been a victim of a deer attack.

The murder was caused by a mountain lion killing a deer in someone's driveway, about 3/4 mile from my house. Jonny was walking Lola in the morning and came upon a woman who told him there was a lion with a kill in the ditch just 15 yards away or so. Division of Wildife had not yet shown up and Jonny didn't want Lola to get into it with a lion so he turned around sharpish without going to look. D.O.W. later trapped and relocated it.

On a more serious note there was a fire in the neighbor's yard across the street and just 3 houses down. I realize this is no big deal compared to the fires raging in California and we have had bad fire seasons before and even a bad wildfire that threatened our neighborhood (came to 3/4 of a mile from my house) so I understand how scary that all is. Still, it's a bit unnerving when you open your front door and hear flames. I went to check it out and a good portion of yard was on fire as well as trees with flames shooting way high in the air. Everything is so dry, if it had been windy the whole neighborhood would have gone up. There's a fire station just 4 blocks away but it took over 5 minutes (maybe longer, I'm not sure who called 911 and when) and the firetrucks came from a different street. The cops got there before the firetrucks! A neighbor was trying to put it out with a hose which was a joke but I suppose you want to do what you can in that situation.

I went back to the house with the intention of packing things up in case we had to evacuate and found myself dashing around the house with a dog dish in my hand and completely incapable of thinking of what else to pack. I didn't want to go totally crazy because likely the fire would get put out but I didn't want to be unprepared. Jonny thought I was nuts. He's not usually all thay level headed in a panic situation but for some reason when it comes to fire I totally lose it and he's Mr. Cool As A Cucumber. When the bad wildfire hit and smoke was pouring down our street, you could see the hills on fire from our living room and the cops were evacuating up to 2 blocks away from us I had to literally shake him awake to get him to throw some underwear in a bag just in case they widened the evacuation area. I had the cars packed up with dog & cat supplies, photos, records, agility tapes of my dogs, who knows what else and it was a huge pain to put it all back. So this time around I wasn't too eager to get too crazy right away. I checked the fire again and the firemen had finally come and things looked under control. Phew! It turned out it was a power box that exploded and set a fence and then the yard on fire. Thankfully no houses were damaged and no one was hurt. On the plus side I did get to chat with some of my neighbors though this was a stupid way to have a block party if you ask me.

Hopefully we're done with excitement for the summer. Oh and I guess I need to work on a better evacuation plan in case of emergencies because running around the house in a panic with a dog bowl in my hand is not going to save our skin.


  1. An author I know, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, wrote "A Legacy of Fire" as an introduction to a book of her short fiction. She describes being a child as a fire burned through the hills in California and, for the third night in a row, they were being evacuated from their home, each time to return home in the morning when the evacuation order was lifted. The first two times, she said, they were methodical and packed everything of value or use in an emergency. The winds kept changing. The evacuation orders kept changing. They were exhausted. On the third night, they waited until the last minute and decided not to bother once again packing everything up. The next morning they had nothing left in the world but what they had been wearing.

    I have an agility friend who lives in the Oakland Hills. In 1991, there was a fire somewhere in the hills. A friend came by her house with a pickup and urged her to load everything of value and get out of there. She agreed to take her dogs and go with the friend, but didn't load up anything because, after all, this was pretty tightly packed suburbs, not wildlands, and the fire was a long way away on the opposite site of a couple of 8-lane freeways, and really it was nothing to get into a tizzy about.

    You can guess the ending.

    I think you'd can't be too careful about these things. ...Well, OK, maybe you can be, but I don't know where that subtle line is drawn.

  2. I don't mess around with evacuation orders but there are sometimes risks with evacuating too. My neighbor/swim coach ended up losing her cat during the fire evacuation because she went to another neighbor's house temporarily while she arranged to go somewhere farther away and someone in the house opened a door and the cat fled. She never found it. Her house was fine in the end but she was a block or two from the flames and it was way too risky to stay.