Flash Says…

Posts Tagged ‘neighbourhood watch

The police woke me in the small hours of the morning – not at my door, but in my street, around my car, and having closed off the road. It made me wonder how well I truly know my neighbours…

Dozing while my husband slept beside me, I heard the sound of a car alarm – just a couple of blips. There it came again. Then banging, thuds of a door being slammed and something being thrown around. I stumbled to the window, to make sure my car was secure. To my surprise, police in body armour and helmets were all over the street.

The entrance to our road turning was blocked by a police van, and I could make out the nose of an ambulance standing by on the High Road. Next to my car was a large unmarked Transit van into which men were unloading their kit. On the other side was a dog unit, its occupant being walked back down the road – the German Shepherd complained as they put him back in the van, and my own dog stood up and barked back. What a great way to wake up the neighbours at 3am!

Plainly the police had been stealthy on arrival but less considerate as they packed up again. I’d obviously missed the “action”, but it was clear that they had been raiding a property further down my own cul-de-sac, or the close behind my house.

As I returned to bed, I couldn’t help wondering – terrorist, or drug dealer? Perhaps the target was a child porn ring, or an armed robber? Could it be the students at number 53, or the man who’s just moved into 19A? I quickly ruled out terrorism – the Muslims in our street are all family men, friendly and quietly spoken. Perhaps the woman who keeps herself to herself at number 70 has something to hide, or I should suspect the Lithuanian family at 86? Stereotypes swam into my mind, while I tried to work out how well I truly know the people in my street.

Those characters are ficticious. The people don’t exist and nor do the house numbers. But I do pride myself on knowing my neighbours – I’ve lived in this house for 8 years and am active in my local residents’ association and neighbourhood watch group. I can’t leave the house without running into people I know – in fact for one week I counted, and found that during a 20 minute walk with my dog, I’d run into an average of seven people who’d say hello, two of whom would stop for a chat. A few of my neighbours have become good friends. These kind of reassurances made me think I had a good measure of the people living in my pleasant, peaceful, dead end street.

I’m not surprised to learn that “busts” and “raids” can happen anywhere; everyone’s got to live somewhere, after all. But it’s always a shock to look out of your window and see a street full of policemen, especially if they feel that armour and dogs are necessary. I do love the area where I live, particularly as so many people open their doors to me – but now I’ll be wondering a little more about what goes on behind them once they are closed.

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