I've said it before and I'll say it again, one of the best ways to stay up on what's going on in your neck of the woods is to join your local neighborhood watch group. Because of where my house is located, I've joined a couple from the Bangor area. They're a great way for neighbors to let each other know about things, both good and bad, that might be going on along your street.

As I checked my Neighborhood Watch Facebook Pages this week, I noticed an uptick in instances of what seemed to be petty theft in the area. More and more folks in the Fairmount (and also Little City) in Bangor have been reporting that things have been going missing from cars, yards and garages;Things like bikes, tools and strollers--nothing too huge, but still people's personal belongings have been pilfered through.

Apparently that caught the attention of Bangor City Counselor, Ben Sprague, as well. He mentioned on one of local group's Facebook pages today that he had spoken with Bangor's City Manager, Catherine Conlow and the Bangor Police Chief, Mark Hathaway about the problem. Sprague said that the city will be increasing patrols, especially nighttime ones, in those areas over the next few weeks. Sprague also suggested that if residents see something that seems out of the ordinary, or if they have been the victim of a theft, even a small one, that they should call the Bangor Police Non-Emergency number to report it. That number is 947-7384.

It's also recommended that folks keep their vehicle, garage and home doors and windows locked. Most of these crimes are "crimes of opportunity", meaning thief checked a door, found it unlocked, and went in to help themselves to what was not theirs. Had the door been locked, this thief may not have tried to get in, but moved on to check the next place. Security cameras, if you can swing them, are also a good idea, and can be helpful in identifying suspects of crimes. Getting to know your neighbors, and being aware of your surroundings, along with the simple step of locking up your stuff can go a long way in keeping your belongings and your loved ones safe.

I'm happy to say that when I checked in on one of the Neighborhood Watch pages this morning, it appeared that some of the items that were stolen from one local family had been recovered. That's some good news. So, keep those eyes peeled, and that non-emergency number handy. You never know when or if something you see could be of help.