Beacon Hill staying connected through neig­hborhood asso­ciation website, Facebook

Residents helping fight crime, staying vigilant

SAN ANTONIO - Residents of Beacon Hill work together to fight crime and stay connected through the neighborhood's association and Facebook page.

Beacon Hill resident David Germer's return home Sunday afternoon took a big turn after a phone call from a neighbor.

"We got a call from him saying, 'Your front door is wide open. Is that normal, do you normally leave your front door open?'" Germer said on Tuesday.

When he got home, he saw files scattered over the floor and drawers from dressers pulled out.

"Nothing was damaged, but we ran out of room. On the police report where we fill out everything that was taken," said Germer, who added that they found an open bottle of juice from their fridge in their living room. "Just seeing that and knowing that they were in our space and made themselves at home, in our home, is tough."

News of the break-in traveled much faster than word of mouth, it traveled by cyberspace. Residents posted the news on their neighborhood Facebook page, a closed group of residents.

"It's not our goal but it turns out it's being used for safety and other things," said Everett Ives, president of the Beacon Hill Neighborhood Association. "People post when their home has been broken into and if a neighbor saw a particular type of car a lot of neighbors look for that type of car."

The Facebook page, like the association website, began as an informative site for residents but it has become another tool to help fight crime.

"After there's been a break-in in the neighborhood that tends to make the immediate neighbors cohesive and they start talking about that event and things they can do to watch each other," said Ives.

"Good communication will prevent a lot of things especially within the associations and they'll know what's going on," added KSAT crime expert Gilbert de la Portilla. "We have always said that the community are the eyes and ears of the police department and again within the associations, this is where it can be very helpful."

Residents aren't just vigilant online but at home too. Monday morning a resident spotted a teen tagging backboards in a new community park and quickly called police. The teen was arrested and faces felony charges for vandalizing city property.

"People are tired," said de la Portilla. "They're tired of the criminal element, they're tired of things happening like that."

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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