A couple of days ago, I got a call from an Allentown business, asking advice on how to handle a shoplifter problem. I was informed that a woman was walking into shops, with her kids, to pilfer merchandise. I once owned a business called Thunder Bay on Elmwood Avenue. Over the course of 13 years, I had numerous problems with shoplifters, including getting maced, and breaking a thumb while tackling a thief as he was running down the street. If there is one thing that I don’t miss about retail, it’s the shoplifting that unfortunately goes with the territory.
Last week, around the same time that I fielded the question about ways to curb shoplifting, I ran into a neighbor who was busy preparing his piles of fall leaves for pickup. The conversation quickly turned to what sort of bags to use to collect the leaves, or can you use no bags at all? This particular neighbor was aware that The City was picking up the leaves on that same day, so he raked them into a big pile on the street (that’s what we did when I was young). His immediate neighbors were using a range of bags, including paper (B+), opaque plastic (F), and clear plastic (D), while still others were leaving the leaves on their lawns to naturally compost (A+).
The more I thought about the shoplifter issue, and the leaf dilemma, I was prompted to recall that there is a website out there called Next Door, where neighbors can discuss issues such as these. Discussions include notifications of car break-ins, package theft, etc. But there are also plenty of helpful conversations, tips, and referrals pertaining to bulk trash days, book clubs, ride shares, block parties, items for sale, petitions being circulated, crime watch, gardening, homes for sale, apartment rentals, dog sitters, etc. I heard about the handy site a while back, but was inspired to finally join after the two aforementioned issues sprang up. Upon providing my information and ZIP Code (to register), I started scrolling through various conversation threads that revolved around issues such as alternate parking, a lost wallet, a neighbor’s death, a snowblower repair service, a homeless cat, handy people, a wood burning stove for sale, cleaning person referrals… the list goes on and on.
Next Door is the perfect website to discuss issues on shoplifting and leaf collections. The site is a great way to build community, help keep neighborhoods safe, and share information. The more people that sign up, the more eyes will be on the street. It’s a website that I will be using whenever I have something to say, or ask, regarding issues in my own neighborhood. Heck, maybe I could use some free lawn signs that encourage the NFTA t0 Buy Electric Buses for a Cleaner Buffalo. Or I might buy a vintage guitar tube amplifier (Fender PA-100), take guitar lessons and join a band. Maybe I’ll post on neighborhood litter cleanups come spring… the possibilities are endless!