Residents post info about neighborhood crime

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Now more than ever residents are using social media to bring crime awareness to other members in the community. Facebook might be great for staying in touch with family and friends, but one of the biggest and unforeseen benefits of Facebook surfaced when residents started posting crime-related information on the community Facebook pages. Awareness is key to preventing crime and keeping our neighborhoods safe.

Jazzlyn Kepford, 8 was struck in the head by a BB while playing at Gault Field.

Jazzlyn Kepford, 8 was struck in the head by a BB while playing at Gault Field.

Here are a few of the crime-related incidents that were reported by residents on the Canyon Lake Community and Canyon Lake Crime and Safety Facebook pages from February 29 to March 14.

  • On Sunday March 13, 8-year-old Jazzlyn Kepford was playing with friends at Guilt Field while her parents, Tiffany and Phill, played in a co-ed softball game. At approximately 12:15 p.m. Jazzlyn was shot in the head by a BB gun. At first her parents thought she had bumped her head while playing. It wasn’t until later, when they arrived at the hospital and Jazzlyn had an x-ray, that they discovered she had been shot in the head by a BB gun.

Another child at the field, one who had been playing with Jazzlyn at the time of the incident, was questioned. “She said she saw two boys, about 10 years old, playing with guns behind the building. She didn’t recognize the boys and didn’t know what type of guns they were,” says Tiffany.

A surgeon extricated the BB from Jazzlyn’s head. She received six stitches. “My daughter is doing fine, just sad about getting shot,” says Tiffany. A police report was filed.

Upon reading this news on the Canyon Lake Crime and Safety Alerts Facebook page, a resident posted that, a few weeks earlier, someone shot her front windshield with a BB gun as she was exiting the North Gate.

  • On Thursday, March 3, a resident reported on the Canyon Lake Community Facebook page that someone tried to break into his home on Cross Hill Dr. The resident, a Los Angeles County Sheriff, said the break-in occurred sometime between 12:30 and 7:30 p.m.

When the officer’s wife arrived home around 7:30 p.m., she notice that the double front doors were ajar. The officer says, “One of the doors is always secured with upper and lower pins, and we never open it, so we knew someone tried to break in.

The residents searched the home but didn’t find anything missing. “Our two big German Shepherds might have scared them off,” says the officer. The incident was reported to the  Riverside Sheriff’s Department.

  • Four days later, on March 7, another resident on Cross Hill posted that someone tried to break into his home. “Someone tried to pull out my back double door this morning after we left the house to return a U-Haul truck,” says the resident. The suspect pushed the doors inward rather than pulling them outward, which caused the doors to break and jam. The incident occurred between the hours of 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. Nothing was missing from the home.

To some people, these two incidents may appear to be an attempted break-in, but it’s actually considered a felony burglary in the eyes of the law. “When you break the plane of the home, it’s considered a break-in, even it you don’t enter the home. It’s a felony burglary,” says the officer.

  • Also on March 7, a resident posted that a few of the cars and trucks on Cruise Circle were broken into. “On Cruise Circle this week a few of the neighbors had their cars and trucks gone through, but nothing really missing,” says the resident.
  • On March 9, a resident posted a photo of a damaged Mercedes Benz with a message that read, “On Outrigger, a Mercedes Benz sideswiped two of our neighbors’ cars and ended up on the curb. Driver abandoned car.”
  • Also on March 9, the driver of a white truck was burning rubber in the parking lot at East Port in the late hours of the evening. It resulted in numerous black marks on the pavement.
  • On March 14, a message was posted that read, “The last two nights we have been having theft. People using code reader to unlock people’s garages and steal stuff. Last night a mini van was stolen. Night before last tool boxes and gas containers were stolen. Both residents stated that they closed their garage door.” The message went on to warn people to properly double secure their garages with the garage levers that lock. Two residents confirmed that the message came from a Community Patrol officer.
  • Also on March 14, a resident posted that her husband’s work truck was broken into the night before. “They used bolt cutters or something big to get through the locked cables,” says the resident.
  • In addition to these recent reports, on February 24 a resident posted about a “peeping tom.” The resident, who lives in The Villas condominiums near the Lodge on Canyon Club Dr., posted that a man dressed in black bottoms and black hoodie was peeking through his neighbor’s window.

“Our neighbor informed us that there was a man dressed in black bottoms and black hoodie peeking through her window. Her boyfriend got up and the man ran when he saw him,” says the resident.

Due to the recent rash of crimes happening in Canyon Lake, five more residents have come forward and volunteered to serve as block captains in the Canyon Lake Neighborhood Watch Program. The program was formed in late 2014 and currently has 22 block captains. The goal is to have a minimum of 50 block captains in Canyon Lake.

The purpose of the program is to help forge bonds among the residents in the community, reduce crime and improve relations between police and the community. When neighbors begin working together to report crime, the quality of life in the neighborhood increases, crime decreases and you build a stronger, safer community.

The date of the next block captain meeting is yet to be determined but will take place in April. These meetings are led by Lieutenant Earl Quinata from the Riverside Sheriff’s office. If you are interested in volunteering to serve as a block captain, please contact Donna Ritchie, the Neighborhood Watch Program facilitator, at canyonlakecommunity@yahoo.com

Please note: this program is not affiliated with any other Canyon Lake Watch group or Watch Facebook group. The Canyon Lake Neighborhood Watch Program is the only watch program in Canyon Lake that is associated with the National Neighborhood Watch Association and supported by the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.

To view the official Community Patrol and Marine Patrol reports and stats, visit the CLPOA website at www.canyonlakepoa.

If you’d like to stay informed about what other residents are posting on social media regarding crime in the community, join the Canyon Lake Community Facebook group and the Canyon Lake Crime and Safety Alerts Facebook group. These groups are private groups and only Canyon Lake residents are permitted to join.

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Donna Kupke