Instead, she fought back.
What began as a 30-person Neighborhood Watch group has steadily grown to draw residents from 100 of the area’s 192 homes.
Tuesday, those residents joined in the front yard of Daley’s Kodiak Street home in a show of force against crime as one of 30 Neighborhood Watch groups in Antioch to celebrate National Night Out.
“I see the benefits, the results in lower crime and more awareness,” Daley said. “The neighbors get to work together and know each other. We know when something is not right in the neighborhood because we know who lives here.”
The number of Neighborhood Watch groups participating in Antioch’s National Night Out jumped by 40 percent in 2012, but for Daley’s group – one of the largest and longest-running in Antioch – it was business as usual. For 10 straight years, she has opened her garage on National Night Out and served her group a meal, complete with dessert.
Her event exudes a partylike atmosphere, but carries a resounding message: If you move into the Bear Ridge neighborhood, you’re going to be welcomed with open arms by residents who have locked it down using their eyes and ears.
“When something isn’t right, any one of us could be calling the police,” said Daley. “And we’re not afraid to do it.” Amid the fried chicken, fruit, soda pop and chocolate cake Tuesday sat an e-mail list for new members to sign up for Daley’s coordinated communication system.
“The truth is: the Neighborhood Watch captain (Daley) puts a lot of effort in keeping people in the loop,” said neighborhood resident Thom Dyson. “She makes sure everyone is up on what’s going on, and there’s a community here broader than you interact with on a daily basis.”
As time has passed, technology has only tightened the latch on the figurative gate around the community. Programmed into residents’ cell phones are the numbers of neighbors who are unified in their promise to act at the sight of suspicious activity.
“It’s someone to watch over you when you’re not around,” said neighborhood resident Karen Bass. “A lot of us work. People with smart phones can make an alert that we can check right away.”
For this Neighborhood Watch group, National Night Out’s goal – to meet your neighbors – was accomplished long ago. The only strangers at Daley’s house were the members of the Antioch Police Department, Crime Prevention Commission and local elected officials who stopped by to get acquainted with the group. And it’s exactly how Daley and her neighborhood watch group wanted it.
“We have a lot of participation here,” she said. “And we’re pretty happy about that.”