Local Intel: What I Learned from the Cop Staking Out My Street

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Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course

Last night, I walked across the street and introduced myself to the cop sitting in the car across from my house.

Every couple of nights for the past two weeks, I noticed a police car parking there at about 11 at night. The car would sit there for a while, then turn around in my driveway and leave. Last night, for once, I wasn’t already in my pajamas sipping on an evening Bailey’s when I noticed him pull up.

And I really wanted to know what the heck was going on.

No matter what you personally think of the cops, intel is intel.

Before we got any deeper into this story, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Most folks fall on one side or the other on the “police” argument. They either think that cops can do no wrong and have a thin blue line sticker on the back window of their truck, or they feel that the police are just there to generate revenue and harass innocent people who are simply going about their day. While the minarchist in me chafes at things like speeding tickets, etc, I still try to form my opinions people by their actions and their respect (or lack of it) for others – regardless of the uniform they’re wearing.

But this article is not about that argument. In fact, it doesn’t really even matter which way you feel about cops to use the suggestions I’m about to offer.

Police officers can be an incredible source of information about the goings-on in your neighborhood. Since we recently relocated to a new neighborhood here in the same town, I’m hungry for the details.

Why was there a cop in front of my house every night?

So I was curious…why, in this pleasant neighborhood where people walk their dogs down the tree-lined streets by day and sit on their rocking-chair studded front porches with a cup of tea by night, would a police officer be staking it out on a nightly basis? And not just one police officer – some nights, two cars would sit across the street for hours.

And of course, there is always that little frisson of paranoia – was I suspected of doing something wrong in the eyes of the law? I knew this was pretty ridiculous since our family tends to be quiet and the only “illegal” thing I could think of doing was running out of poop bags while walking the dog. (Note: I went home, grabbed an extra bag, and ran back to pick up my pooch’s offering.)

I digress.

When I saw the car pull up last night and stop, I went outside. I said, “Hi!” and waved to him non-threateningly from across the street.  Then I asked, “I was just wondering if anything was wrong since I see you sitting in front of my house every night?”

He got out of the car and walked over to my side of the road. He said, “No, there’s nothing wrong, really. But you’ll see us a lot, protecting the neighborhood.”

“Protecting the neighborhood? We’re new here, and I’m curious, protecting the neighborhood from what?” I asked. “Is this a bad neighborhood?” I was truly shocked because the neighborhood looks like every parent’s dream neighborhood, with cars driving slowly and kids riding their bicycles amidst well-kept hundred-year-old homes. And when I’d checked the police reports before renting the place, crime was pretty much non-existent.

He went on to tell me that the apartment complex down the road was notorious for drug deals.

Playing the role of naive soccer mom, I asked, “Drug deals!!!! Oh my, are there meth labs there?”

He said, no, no, don’t worry. It was mostly lower level stuff. He assured me that there was virtually no violent crime in the neighborhood and that even property crime was incredibly low. And he heard my 140-pound dog’s deep, booming bark from inside the house. He said, “Even if there was property crime, they probably wouldn’t pick a house with a dog like that inside. People around here don’t want trouble.”

He was a pleasant guy and it was a nice conversation.

So, I learned some valuable information.

The cops watch the apartment complex as a deterrent, but it doesn’t sound like they bust people – at least not according to the local records, which I looked up on my computer as soon as I came inside. When I’ve driven through the complex, it’s pretty well kept. You can see that some of the folks may have lower incomes, but the children playing outside have warm coats and look clean. (Well, as clean as kids playing outside can look.) I noticed a fair number of young parents, and most of the people fit the demographics of the neighborhood around them.

It’s hardly a drug-riddled ghetto run by ruthless gang members toting Uzis. My guess is that someone there is selling a whole lot of weed, which I find less than alarming. Marijuana users aren’t the type to rob homes to get a “fix” and dealers aren’t generally violent criminals. Even in an SHTF situation, pot dealers aren’t that likely to try and take over the neighborhood like warlords.

Here are the things that I learned that are valuable from a prepper’s situational awareness angle.

  • Likely because this is an upper-middle-class neighborhood, there is a strong police presence during good times. If there were bad times, they’d probably head home to their own families, but in anything less than an SHTF situation, there’s a constant visual deterrent around here.
  • There are some drug deals going on down the street from me, but it’s probably nothing to worry about.
  • The area has very little property crime.
  • Violent crime is practically non-existent. (Which, of course, doesn’t mean it’s impossible – one should never get too complacent.)
  • The worst thing that has happened in this cop’s memory was a drug dealer and a customer having a fist fight in that apartment complex. No weapons were involved and neighbors called 911 and it was all resolved peacefully.

Nothing earthshattering, but still, it was a collection of things that are good to know.

More importantly, I made a relationship with a source. I have the police officer’s business card with a cell phone number in case we “run into any trouble.” I asked him to let us know if there was ever something of which we needed to be aware. I also made a mental note to drop over some Christmas cookies next month because it’s never a bad idea to make contacts who are in a position to have valuable information.

It’s always a good idea to have sources.

It’s always a good idea to have your finger on the pulse of the neighborhood where you live. There are folks out there who can be good sources of information.

The key here is to avoid giving out too much information about yourself. Nobody needs to know you’re armed to the teeth and ready for trouble. No one needs to be aware that you have food stockpiled to the point that your spare room is about to burst at the seams. Nobody needs to know your teenage daughter is home alone on Thursdays.

There’s a way to be friendly and seem personal without actually disclosing any private information. Think of the innocuous things you can discuss that seem like you’re sharing when you’re actually keeping most of your cards close to the chest.

Most of all, be open-minded enough to recognize a valuable source of information, regardless of your personal feelings about that person’s line of work – and that can hold true whether they’re the cops or the folks in that place the cops are watching. Being courteous to them doesn’t indicate your undying approval. Just try to treat everyone like a human being.

Your sources may be aware of an issue before you are and well before it’s reported on the news. If you can nurture relationships with the people in the know, you’ve got an early warning system. And in the preparedness world, knowing things before the gen pop can be a vital advantage.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • It is very clear that the Gestapo have little to do in your community. The LEO puts down on his lie sheet that he was watching a possible drug deal going down. I have seen many LEO parked in many lots, they tell you that parking here is a crime stopper. BULL DREN: they do not want to deal with people or respond to calls.

  • Thanks for sharing this, Daisy. If there’s an officer out there around Thanksgiving, you can deliver your goodies early and express your gratitude then. Sometimes, it’s good (and memorable!) to beat the rush of holiday goodies.

  • I suppose the real question is does LE know who is new to their town or who rents houses in their town. If they do and if Daisy Luther is your real name, i.e. you rented that house using that name, then you can bet they have googled you and know who you are. If they do know that you have this website and they read it then it all depends on if the police chief and mayor decide if you are an asset or a threat.

    Humm, hadn’t thought of that. I should google my neighbors.

  • We typically bake a fruit cake each Christmas. It usually weighs about 10-15 pounds. It’s about 4 inches thick and 15 inches in diameter. I may just do this for the sheriff’s department. They have been outstanding in their response anytime we needed them. They are all clean cut young men that seem to care.

  • I am wondering about something. I know that you moved in the past year. How do you move all your preps and not let your new neighbors know? I remember you saying you where starting over, thought that was food. In my small town, a new neighbor is a curiosity and would be noticed if they had moved in a bunch of preps.

    • Hi, Beki! Everything is in boxes so it isn’t really noticeable. 🙂 They just think we have a lot of “crap”.

  • I like your approach Daisy. It is very smart to keep a finger on the locals especially when you aren’t “from” there. Having moved halfway across the country to rural Missouri 4 years ago, I have made it a priority to get to know folks. Met some real good people out here and some that you don’t want to make it a habit to run into a bunch! Just hanging out an listening can be an education as well!
    Thanks for sharing what you learn 🙂

  • As a former Officer, I can say that there are a number of different reasons that Officers would sit in different areas.

    The reason the Officer gave is a fairly common one, as is that location is a good place to do paperwork, good lines of sight, safe area, etc.

    One time, a councilman was complaining about the traffic going through a school zone, so I literally parked my car in front of his house to slow traffic down.

    Like cops or not, they are out there doing their jobs, stop and ask some questions, you might be surprised what you can find out.

    • Personally, I’m cop-neutral. It depends on the cop and his actions how I feel about the particular one. Pretty much like everybody else. 🙂

      Thanks for the insight! Great solution to the school zone problem.

    • In general I would say that just like all of us, cops, in fact, “do their jobs” just like the rest of us. We all know people at work who are lazy, dishonest, mean, kind, intimidating etc. Every profession has its fair share of great people and its fair share of jerks.
      I happen to be a health care provider who has worked in professions where I regularly encount and interact with cops, corrections officers, security guards, EMTs, doctors, nurses, etc.
      I also have relatives that are LEOs…….both of them are literally wonderful people who would give you the shirt off their back if you needed it. I have worked with wonderful PhDs who went on to be cops and they too would help you in any way possible, should you need help.
      I have also had the opportunity to work with LEOs who are complete jerks…..abusive as the day is long, and dishonest as it comes…..I have encountered the same characteristics in the medical professions also.
      My point is this…….hate the bad apples where you find them, but love, appreciate and reapect the wonderful LEOs where you find them.
      DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING ABOUT ANY OF THESE PEOPLE UNTIL YOU SEE THE FRUITS OF THEIR WORK.
      So, Michael……..thanks for the input and for putting your life on the line for citizens.

  • Great article Daisy. I like the part you mentioned about not disclosing info about yourself and your peeps. My dad always said, the less people know about you, the better and it’s so true.

    • NO, They are RESPOSIBLE fir keeping their CARS CLEAN for the NEXT SHIFT!
      Of course that’s going to be a PROBLEM for YOU!…RIGHT?

  • I recently had to evict an opioid addict sibling from the house I manage for my stepdad.

    Based on legal advice, as a final part of this process, said sibling was presented with a ‘ban notice’ advising them that if they ever entered the property for any reason at any time, they would be subject to arrest for trespassing.

    I had to present another ban notice to another sibling who attempted to assault me in the house after they found out about me evicting the first sibling.

    I then went to the local police station and made a report in advance to the front desk officer about the situation.

    The lawyer said that, this way, if we have to call 911, there is information in ‘the system’ about both of them.

    This way, when the cops roll up on out property on a trespassing call, they don’t (necessarily) come out guns blazing.

    Interestingly, I also recently acquired a new firearm, and the background check took ‘longer than usual’ (20 minutes) and I suspect it was related to the information on file with ‘the authorities’.

    All of this kind of creeped me out but it’s the system we live in, and I think Daisy is correct. If you are basically law abiding, you should limit your interactions with law enforcement to positive ones.

    If you’re the guy selling weed out of your apartment, not so much.

    Everything we do is tracked, cataloged, watched, monitored.

    I don’t like it but it’s the way it is. Might as well utilize this to our advantage until we go completely off the grid.

  • Thank you Daisy, for a well written and informative article! Cops are neither good nor bad: just people who are trying to do a job while answering to their boss(es), the local government fools, the public, etc. That being said, I think that you handled yourself and the situation very well. Not disclosing personal info, such as when he commented on your dog’s bark. You didn’t go into the “well, he is a Boerboel and really dangerous so anyone who knocks on my door…”. That is like signing your dog’s death warrant. I just wish that survival minded folks would learn to be courteous, kind, and discreet like you were.
    Your new neighborhood sounds wonderful! While we have terrific areas in California, I am tired of fires, taxes,antifa, and the like. Ready for a new challenge.

    • “The whole good cop/bad cop question can be disposed of much more decisively. We need not enumerate what proportion of cops appears to be good or listen to someone’s anecdote about his Uncle Charlie, an allegedly good cop. We need only consider the following: (1) a cop’s job is to enforce the laws, all of them; (2) many of the laws are manifestly unjust, and some are even cruel and wicked; (3) therefore every cop has agreed to act as an enforcer for laws that are manifestly unjust or even cruel and wicked. There are no good cops.” ~Robert Higgs

  • Aug 7, 2013 Did You Know #1 – The Myth of Police Protection

    Did you know that the police have NO DUTY to protect you?

    https://youtu.be/2BN6Q5cygCs

    June 16, 2016 Supreme Court Ruling: Police Have No Duty to Protect the General Public

    However, did you know that the government, and specifically law enforcement, does not have any duty to protect the general public? Based on the headline and this information, you might assume this is a new, landmark decision. However, it has long been the court’s stance that, essentially, the American people are responsible for taking case of their own personal safety.

    http://tribunist.com/news/supreme-court-ruling-police-have-no-duty-to-protect-the-general-public/

  • Personally, I do not start a conversation with Any “Policy Man,” sheriff’s officer or constable. They are all “officers of the court,” whether they are “on or off duty.” Everything you say Can & Will Be Used Against You in a court of UCC Law. (that’s Uniform Commercial Code or Admiralty Law). I have several friends and two cousins that are LEOs. I am respectful, but I am always Very Cautious around them.
    Policy Men & Women serve the city or county. Their job is to enforce the law, take names and record license plates. They Do Not Protect Anyone Other Than Themselves! To think otherwise, no matter what a slogan says on their police cruisers, is pure ol’ cognitive dissonance.

  • I live in NYC. I don’t know whether to admire your courage or shake my head at your foolhardiness in approaching a thug in blue, a member of the most dangerous gang in any town. I am surprised he didn’t execute you on the spot for “frightening” him and “threatening” him. They are like armed high school bullies. They are violent, undisciplined, out-of-control thugs. I hate them and cannot imagine voluntarily going near one.

  • Must be real nice to have cops sitting outside your home. Here in Tucson anything less than a shooting you have a day or two wait for cops to show up. Sometimes they don’t bother and actually ask you to come down to the station and fill out a report.

  • All paranoia aside, yes, you can get some info on whats going on from the cops.. I live in an area of the Sun Valley (Phoenix) that is developing fast. More people means more crime. It is always wise to keep your eyes and ears open. My neighbors are not neighbors and some don’t even want to know who you are. No one takes care of each other in many areas of the country. Take care of yourself. If there were any sheriff presence, I would most certainly ask what is going on. Whether they told me the truth, or the truth the were told by their superiors.

  • Good article.
    in general it is always wise to keep your ear to the ground, and develop as many “official” contacts as possible. In any sort of SHTF situation information is critical.
    One way I have found to expand my own web of information sources is via CERT. Take the initial, base line classes, then participate. It usually will involve volunteer work such as traffic control or manning a emergence medical booth, (boo-boo tent), at the local Thanksgiving parade. The locals , Sheriffs and EMS folks will take note of your participation and skill set. From that you get invited to more advanced or internal training sessions. eg: in December I will be working two full days with the local airport TSA dog handlers as a decoy for weapons/bomb smuggling and detection. In January, (BRRR), I’ll be training with the Sheriffs for “mountain search and rescue under adverse conditions”.
    So what’s good about this as relates to Daisy’s article?
    Knowledge! Learning new, possibly very important skills, meeting and working with the Official side of these skill sets, which creates a group of potentially useful contacts, ( I have cell and e-mail of many of the local first responders handy), and developing an understanding of how the Official sides creates and uses their procedures. An example might be that I want to disappear into the local mountains – knowing just how the LEOs perform their searches is the sin qua non of evading such a search team.
    As Daisy implies – it’s all about knowledge, and contacts can provide some of that knowledge.

  • I take a different approach. I avoid voluntary contact with LE. Its their job to be curious, observe and analyze. They are trained to. I just don’t give them a reason to practice it on me.

    Daisy, you may indeed have left a positive impression about yourself with that officer. Or, he may have mentally filed you away as the busy-body who just moved into the neighborhood thats been observing him.

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