Car Ransacked Again? Relax. It’s a Redding Epidemic

Tuesday morning I went to my car, which was locked, as usual.  I unlocked the car, but before I got in I stopped in my tracks. My car's entire interior had been ransacked. All the contents from the glove box, the console and all four side pockets were tossed and scattered. Papers and hairpins and grandkids' books and crayons and water bottles and receipts and makeup and every single thing that didn't come with the car when I bought it was strewn everywhere.

Damn! This was the second time since this summer this has happened. I live in west Redding, in an older neighborhood I adore. Truthfully, this new neighborhood feels slightly more safe than where I lived in the Garden Tract, because of my former home's closer proximity to the canal, the library, downtown, the river, South City Park, the "un-Safeway" on Pine Street, and the Good News Rescue Mission.

Tuesday, my ransacked car was parked at the curb in front of my new/old house, which is pretty common on this street. Monday I had company parked in my driveway, which is where I usually park. And don't ask about my garage as a parking option. At the moment it's still in deep recovery from my move and remodeling. It looks more like a storage unit than a parking garage.

I know better than to leave valuables in the car (even registration and insurance information), but I did have a little stash of coins I kept hidden in a plastic case at the bottom of the console. It's money I keep on hand for things like parking meters and car washes. Of course, the coins were gone.

I got off easy. My windows weren't broken (which happened to my car the end of 2011, the day of the then-new-police chief Paoletti's meet-and-greet). And my car wasn't stolen, which seems nearly as prevalent lately in Redding as car break-ins.

Nevertheless, I was pissed. Furious. Disgusted. I'm not proud to admit I wanted revenge. I found myself thinking of ways to not just prevent this from happening to my car again, but to inflict some memorable consequences or damage upon the unfortunate SOB who tried it.

I fantasized about setting a bunch of rat traps in my car. I know a lot about rat traps. I once lost a thumb nail to one. But it would be my luck to be in a hurry and I'd forget about the traps and I'd set them off myself, not to mention the risk to my little grandchildren.

Then I thought about how cool it would be to somehow deliver an electric shock to the jerk who so much as touched my car in the middle of the night, but, again, it could backfire and hurt an innocent person or animal.

Besides, even if my attempts at payback/pain-infliction did work, I could possibly provoke an enraged, injured criminal: smashed windows, slashed tires, human waste smeared everywhere or seats destroyed. Worse, what if they returned to my house for vengeance?  I can't even go there.

I cleaned out the car, including the kids' car seats. I threw away pretty much everything, because my stuff felt violated. I knew the creep's hands had touched everything.

This bugged me all day, which is why, throughout my errands and appointments, when someone asked how I was, I'd sometimes respond that I was rattled because my car had been ransacked for the second time. It takes me a while to get over bad stuff. I'm a slow healer.

Do you know what the response was - EVERY time, to a person? They said that either that had also happened to them, or their colleague, or their friend or relative. All within the last few days. With the exception of one barista whose mother's car had a break-in in Anderson, all the others happened in Redding.

Apparently, I have lots and lots of company. In Redding, car break-ins are so common they're no big deal anymore. Car ransacked? Yawn. Cry me a river.

Even so, I called the Redding Police Department to report the incident, not because I expected anything done, because what could they do? But I believe that every single crime, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, should be reported so our city has accurate crime data.

The last time my car was trashed, I tried to report it via the RPD's website, but I became so frustrated with the tedious online form and onerous process that I quit in frustration. Forget it!

Consider that if I, someone who makes her living online, found RPD's online crime-report process too unwieldy to see through to the bitter end, imagine how it would be for people less comfortable online. It makes me wonder how many crimes in Redding are nearly reported, but citizens give up. If that's the case, so as far as the city's concerned, those crimes never happened. Vehicle break-in epidemic? What epidemic?

But back to my call to RPD. I reached dispatch, and an officer returned my call within the hour. He was very nice, and asked some questions.

Anything taken?
Just coins and cheap sunglasses.

Any damage?
Not as far as I know.

Was your car unlocked?

That's where the officer paused. I explained this was my second time that my locked car was opened and ransacked. I told him that the last time this happened I'd done some research and learned about a crime trend where some creeps use a device that can electronically unlock some vehicle models' doors; kind of like a universal fob. The ease of force-less entry.

He chuckled.

"I don't think our criminals are that sophisticated."

Guess what? I do. The nice officer and I may have to agree to disagree over that point.

I went online to Nextdoor. com and posted what happened, to alert neighbors, but also to see if anyone else had the same issue.

Here are a few responses:

JM: Hi dear, can I just say this is happening to us as well here on Sequoia St. constantly. We loose all our change, shoes, jackets and backpacks. I know it's our faults that we forget to lock the car doors some times but with four cars and teens it don't happen 100%. But if a door is unlocked they are in and get everything. We also had them in our back yard the other day and they took all our bikes. It really makes me sad!

SJ (who lives on my street): My daughter had this happen a couple of times to her car in front of our house. She always locks it and there’s no sign of forced entry. They riffle through the glove compartment but she doesn’t leave anything at all in her car luckily. So nothing has been stolen. My husband on the other hand forgot to lock his car one night and had all of his spare change and some dollar bills stolen. They actually stole his whole ash tray!

RH: I was missing some things out of my car after parking in the lower level of the downtown parking garage last Friday night right under a light by the staircase near the Post Office restaurant. I was sure I had locked my car after seeing a group loitering down against a wall (there are no loitering signs there). My car may have even been relocked after they rifled through it but I'm not sure because I used the key fob as I approached it. I am guessing they went through it quickly because they only grabbed cards and money from the center compartment and did not appear to go through the glove box or other areas. I noticed a few other small things missing and my sweatshirt. The cards they took were just store cards that I hardly ever use anyway but this is really disconcerting that they can open a locked car. We need more information on this, like is this possible for all cars or just certain types. Mine is a 2011 Chevy Equinox.

On Facebook, Redding Crime 2.0 had a post of an incident the same day as my car ransacking, just a few blocks from my house. The cops took away the guy in handcuffs. He was probably released the next morning.

Posted by Kevin J. Nagy on Tuesday, January 2, 2018

At the hardware store, a young clerk said that he was born and raised in Redding, and never thought he'd consider leaving. But he said he's so sick of Redding's crime that he's thinking of moving to someplace more rural, like Palo Cedro or Igo.

At the post office, a customer was at the counter complaining that tracking showed her package had been delivered to her house, but it was gone; stolen. I wanted to raise my hand and tell her that the same thing happened to me in November. A cute dress I ordered online was delivered to my mailbox in the evening, so thieves had all night to roam the neighborhood and go shopping from our mail boxes while we slumbered.

I'd bought that dress for a special event. And when I contacted the company about the missing dress, they wouldn't replace it, which I can sort of understand. I mean, they did their part and sent the dress. It's not their fault my Redding postal carrier was working late, or that I live in a city where criminals are as thick as a New York City cockroach infestation, but more difficult to control. For future deliveries, I extracted a promise from my mail carrier that all packages will come to my front porch, not that the creeps aren't brazen enough to come up that close to the house, but it's a little more work for them, and might slow them down, like a thief's speed bump.

What I really want is a freakin' spike strip.

See this cute dress? It was stolen from Doni's mailbox.

When I walked outside today to dump the garbage, I encountered a neighbor who told what happened to them during the holidays. Rather than discuss turkey dinners and eggnog and visiting family, he told how an intruder climbed onto their RV that they'd parked beside their house. The intruder then used the RV as a ladder to reach a high window that was unlocked. The creeper then entered their house through that window.

While my neighbor and his wife slept.

Just let that sink in for a moment. Just imagine you're sleeping and unaware a criminal is walking around inside your house. So, anyway, that intruder wandered around, and left doors open, which is how my neighbors knew the next morning about their night-time visitor. My neighbor figures the person was looking for Christmas presents, but his family celebrated Christmas early, so there were no gifts lying around for the taking. As far as they know, everything's intact.

And I thought I was creeped out by my car ransacking? Suddenly, my incident registered almost zero on my stress Richter scale. It paled greatly in comparison to my neighbors' experience, whose house, by the way, is right around the corner from my mine.

Yes, more and more, these are the kinds of conversations neighbors have here in Redding.

What really compounds my frustration is I thought I'd taken all the right precautions when I bought this house. I got a post office box, because I didn't trust my residential mailbox. I bought two different home security systems, as well as four dusk-to-dawn exterior lights that illuminate the perimeter of my house like a Sing-Sing exercise yard.

Some folks on Nextdoor suggested I get surveillance cameras. I'll consider them, but I resent that our city has become the kind of place where not just businesses, but single-family modest dwellings need security cameras, alarms, motion lights, flood lights, guard dogs, steel fences and security screen doors.

I also resent that good people increasingly take the blame for everything from parking their RVs "too close" to the house, and leaving teenagers' jackets in their cars and children's bikes in their own backyards, to parking at the river trail or movie theater, having packages delivered to our homes and leaving change in the dashboard ashtray. Such slackers we are! We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We're practically inviting trouble.

But most of all, I resent that every time something like this happens, it puts me - a single woman - on an even higher state of heightened alert.

Case in point, early Tuesday evening I was washing dishes and saw through the kitchen window movement in the alley behind my house, a place where somebody had recently dumped a beat-up couch. I went charging out the back door and sure enough, saw the figure of a man walking quickly down the alley. Normally, I turn into a chicken after dark, but on the day my car was ransacked, I was just so hopped up with adrenaline that I felt fearless. I had no plan, no pepper spray, no taser, no nothing.

I was just ticked off and sick of creeps destroying my city's sense of peace, serenity and safety. I felt as if I could have kicked someone's ass.

Doni does 100-pound deadlifts at Align.

As an aside, I routinely do 100-pound deadlifts at Align these days, you know. I think I'm strong enough that I could do some serious damage.

To my embarrassment, I found a nice neighbor walking his dog. And to think I'd almost yelled at him. Thank God I didn't bring the pepper spray or taser. My heart was pounding. I felt like an idiot. Then I felt like crying. Damn.

This is what it's come to. That, and the fact that some tweaker has my paisley party dress.

It's war!

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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95 Responses

  1. Yes, the state of lawlessness is everywhere and getting worse. Our times are today’s black death, only we survive to know the hell next day somewhere else. And if you think it can’t get worse, just jump ahead a few years when the brain impaired THC generation arises. Because judgement and motivation are two centers permanently disabled by THC in the developing brain those many mothers smoking pot to stop being nauseated or simply wanting to get high during pregnancy are creating a time bomb. Please don’t be fooled into the belief that grass is greener on the other side of the fence. California may be leading the charge into social degeneration, but others are following at light speed. Still, for all the danger, loss, anger and frustration, there are compensations of our time which former generations never knew: grocery stores filled with all kinds of foods, medicines and cures not available even two years ago, walks and parks in every neighborhood, even if the security of 1955 is missing, lots of help the frontier pioneer never had, children who routinely live to adulthood, free public education and on and on. If our glass is only half full, tell that to the starving people who can’t find even safe drinking water where they live. It is a New Year with the same troubles, but CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS! carries the same meaning for those of us who understand as it has for centuries.

    • I will try to focus on our advancements. And I thank you for your annual message of CITIUS, ALTIUS, FORTIUS! Absolutely! And onward into this new year.

    • Louise Hanson says:

      Randy, I am one of those from the generation of 1955 (I’m 76) and I dearly miss the security of that time. One of the biggest changes that have affected the security is that many people do not know who their neighbors are, may have never even spoken to, or acknowledged, their neighbors, except for maybe an occasional wave. Many people are cocooned in their backyards or homes, not caring what goes on around them unless it affects them directly, and don’t want to get involved. (One person in our neighborhood has said that they won’t even call the police because the person they reported, if caught, has the right to know who reported him/her, including the reporter’s name and address.)
      In days of old, a time when doors and cars weren’t locked, neighbors watched out for neighbors and didn’t hesitate to get involved. If someone in the neighborhood, or someone’s family, needed something, word spread like an October wildfire, usually per party-line telephone, and the need was filled.
      I will give two-thumbs up and much appreciation to the growing Nextdoor neighborhoods, as it appears to be helping to fill the neighborly “warning” system and also shows the willingness of others to help those in need, even if they aren’t in the same neighborhoods. Hopefully, perhaps due to the crimes and the problems we are seeing today, we are starting to reverse course and eventually get back to where people actually care about others as much as they do about themselves. We need to bring back front porches, so we can interact with our neighbors and others.

  2. john says:

    Where is Charles Bronson when you need him!

  3. Mary Speigle says:

    Oh, Doni, you have excellently expressed what so many of us in Redding have experienced. Emotions run the gamut but mostly frustration because there is no consequence for violators. You are correct, everyone has been affected directly or indirectly. It would be interesting if there was a “me too” for car violations in Redding. The number would be shocking but even more shocking is it remains unchecked. I had outdoor security cameras installed the other day. Increasingly you see photos on FB site Redding Crime 2.0 that identify criminals in the act. We mourn the loss of security in our hometown and set up defenses as a result.

    • Gosh, Mary, I kind of like the “me too” idea. Maybe a little bumper sticker; a show of solidarity somehow.

      I may be consulting with you about the security cameras. Good luck!

      • Beverly Stafford says:

        With the prevalence of these thefts affecting so many, perhaps “us too” would be a good slogan.

  4. cheyenne says:

    In Phoenix everybody’s hateful Sheriff Joe had volunteer posse groups around the city. For the most part these groups were worse than Sheriff Joe and created a lot of problems. Now that Arpaio is gone so are most of these posses. One that survived is the Sun City Posse, check their website, and they are a volunteer group separate from the official sheriff’s office. They provide vacation checks, routine patrols and generally watch the Sun City neighborhoods. They are not an outside group like the Guardian Angels but local residents. Maybe Redding needs it’s own volunteer posse.

    • You know, Cheyenne, a form of this idea has been rolling around inside my head, sort of like Neighborhood Street Patrols Lite. It would feel too military to have the Guardian Angels patroling my neighborhood, though I’d probably feel safer.

      But what if neighbors signed up for strolls late at night; insomniac night patrol, with headlamps and cell phones. I really have no interest in engaging with a criminal, but maybe just the presence of citizens roaming in groups at all hours would help keep the criminals at bay. It would be a lovely time for a walk, and good exercise, and good way to know your neighbors.

  5. Beverly Stafford says:

    And I thought having to lock the gates of our Redding house because of intruders was a pain. That’s a mere inconvenience compared to what you and some of your commenters have experienced. My husband just walked in, and told him about this article and that perhaps we should sell our Redding bungalow and buy in Palo Cedro. His comment was that we should sell both of our houses and move to the Oregon coast. Tempting . . .

    • Beverly, as much as we’d hate to see you go, we know you’d still be part of our online community, but I think your husband makes a very good, very attractive (if I were you guys) point. I know some people who’ve done exactly what he suggests.

      Man. That’s sad.

  6. conservative says:

    In my neighborhood in Nevada, there are some reports of porch piracyon My prescription from a mail order pharmacy was stolen. The house on the corner had a Fedex package stolen.

    One possible solution is to put a mail and parcel delivery slot in the garage door or next to the garage door.

    Maybe one day most people will have a locking box on their porch for mail and parcels, firmly attached to the concrete and placed so the motion sensor light comes on and makes some noise.

    Maybe one day we will get our mail and parcels at a supermarket which provides customers with locked boxes. I visit the supermarket twice a week, and I don’t mind waiting a few days for my parcels and mail. The supermarket would benefit by getting all of a customer’s supermarket business.

    I wonder how much the thief got for your dress. The thief who stole my blood pressure pills would have enjoyed being dizzy and a vigorous diuresis if he/she tried a few.

  7. Gary Solberg says:

    Sorry for your loss Doni, for your feeling of invasion of your personal space and sense of security more than for the loss of the mostly insignificant stuff. Yesterday I texted a message to a friend who was feeling sad over financial difficulties and worries about an aging parent:
    “I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.”

    For Christmas I gave several copies of a delightful short book entitled “A Good Day: A Gift of Gratitude” by Brother David Steindl-Rast. The book comes with a five-minute moving video. His simple message is that no matter what happens, we can always find abundant reasons to be grateful. And feeling grateful, we can also feel happiness. I highly recommend the book. May you feel grateful and happy today, and every day.

    • Gary, thank you for the message of peace and serenity and book suggestion. I am by nature a person filled with gratitude. But I’m also a pissed off grateful person. I think it’s possible to be both.


      • Gary Solberg says:

        Yes, possible to be both. But let the pissed off feeling go as quickly as you can. You are an generally upbeat person with a great smile. You would have looked good in that cute dress. But you would look good in any dress. If my car had been ransacked last night, the thief would have found one gift wrapped package containing a copy of Brother David’s book. Would he have read it? I wonder.

      • Patricia Bay says:

        Yes. I believe it is possible to be both. As our town gets fed up with all of the rifraf talking over, we will mobilize to do something. I like the idea of a “me too” campaign. It needs a similar name, but slightly different. I also like the idea of neighborhood patrols but RPD has consistently vetoed this idea. It is a possible recipe for disaster with innocent people, on both sides, getting hurt our worse. We have too do something. What about a town meeting that is well advertised and well attended? Doni, I’ve had a fantasy that a bunch of people go up to the rifraf groups hanging out…like at the park by the library… And tell them they aren’t welcome in our town and tell then to leave. Sigh…

        • We ran a story last year about some folks who went to Library Park and did exactly what you’re suggesting. I have one foot in two camps: one wants the crime to stop, to feel safe again. The other wants real mental health, housing and addiction services to help those who are wandering our cities.

  8. AJ says:

    I read this and I want to stick my fingers in my proverbial ears and chant “na-na- na-na-na-“ so I don’t have to hear it. As a single woman, living alone, this stuff scares the mm-mmm out of me and I feel helpless in knowing what to do to protect myself. I do keep my car in the garage and have a door opener. But I do have a side door to that garage that leads outside. I used to have a roommate who insisted we keep that outside door locked because he kept sound equipment in there. I used to laugh at him and resented that I had to manually unlock that door . . . . NO SO ANYMORE. Even tho’ he and sound equipment are gone, the door stays locked. I tend to laughingly say that I have a moat around my house in the form of a very steep hill that most of the criminal type are too lazy to climb, but I have a feeling that won’t always been the case. What to do, what to do!!!???!!!

  9. Michelle says:

    Consider this. I went to Walmart yesterday. To buy perfume I had to get help to unlock the cabinet to buy the perfume. (not a surprise) Then I had to go shopping for chicken food , milk, and such. Then I had to get a new bike tire tube as the last one succombed to the deadly puncture of a goat head-aka puncture vine. (which is my personal weed war) Who would’a thought. All bike parts are also behind a locked glass door! Only in redding- not beer or alcohol-bike parts. So Ig o wait in line and say, “I need a bike tube,” go back and wait for help to come unlock it, then they walk it to the register for me before I can check out. This is Redding. Glad I live in the country. (behind a locked gate-just a little obstacle to overcome)

    • Michelle says:

      I thought they should rename it to Malmart because I had to have three transactions, three lines, to get my stuff. You already need a private checkout for alcohol or cigs too.

    • Wow. I had no idea. I was at Michael’s recently and the colored pencils were also behind a locked case. I asked an employee about it and she said if they weren’t, they’d be stolen. I don’t get it. Yes, be glad you live in the country.

      • Natalyn Lewis says:

        Prismacolors havent actually been stocked on the shelves, youd have to bring the card to the register to purchase. So thats nothing new. (I worked there 05-07)

  10. conservative says:

    Tow truck drivers get called to lockouts. They can unlock any car, just like locksmiths. Years ago I read a book written by someone who had served time in prison. Techniques to be a better professional thief are a common topic of conversation.

  11. Patricia Mullett says:

    It’s a war – and we’re losing. So sad.

  12. cheyenne says:

    Not to male light of the situation but I remember, years ago, Maurice Johannessen had a campaign slogan, “Make welfare as hard to get as a building permit”. Maybe the new slogan should be “Make breaking into a car as hard to do as planting a marijuana garden”.

  13. Bob Higgins says:

    I’ve always felt (strongly) that folks like this, i.e., car thieves that just stole their 5th car in as many weeks; bums that break into our locked cars for their gain and our loss; or any other ideas that may pop up….should be led into the woods somewhere. Led in and NOT led out! Never see ’em again! Society would be better, IMO.
    Everybody has a story about crap like this. I have mine. Parked on Sacto street, by the pawn shop, having dinner with a friend at Jacks…I come out to my car, open the driver door, and there’s glass all over the seat. I look to the passenger floorboard and BOOM! the large, black satchel that was covered with a sweatshirt is gone! Passenger window smashed! Right downtown in broad nighttime!
    Moron looked in, saw a lump under the coat, didn’t have the foggiest clue what it was and decided they needed it more than me!
    Well, unless they were a budding musician, trumpet player to be exact, it wouldn’t do ’em much good as it was my $2000 trumpet, misc attachments, etc. that went out the window. Along with the coat! SOB’s!
    I called RPD from curbside, reported the loss. Drove home (without a passenger window…cold) and promptly printed out a handful of “STOLEN TRUMPET” posters, with picture. Drove to every pawn shop in town and let ’em know what they may be seeing soon.
    A very good RPD cop (woman, I’ll add for clarity) took interest in this and called me to follow up. Two days later BOOM! Olde West had my horn. I got a call from the lady officer and if I could describe the case and instrument I could pick it up the next morn at the cop-shop. Oh boy, could I ever describe it! Right down to the spit that was probably still in it.
    Anyway, got the horn back, minus all of the mutes (around $50 each), and misc other stuff. Very happy for the quick action by RPD and this lady officer and (ugh) the quick action of the moron that tried to sell it to Olde West, who’d already been advised of the theft. So there. That’s my story.
    Now, if you see someone walking around town in a green sweatshirt, with a hood, with the words “Kennedy Inner Circle Marketing” on the front….IT’S MINE! I’d like it back. Thanks for reading this far!

  14. Melody says:

    Unfortunately it is not just Redding. I went out to my car, parked in my driveway in Red Bluff in May last year to find that it had been ransacked. They stole my shopping bags, to assist them on collecting goods from the other cars they hit that night. They took my phone charger, an ugly ass workout outfit I was going to return to JCP, my CVS extra care bucks and my daughter’s baby teeth. She’s 37, gave them back to me and I wanted to find a shadow box… but I digress. They left my Christian cd’s, I suspect that the cd’s reminded them “that thou shall not steal”. I later found out that they in deed hit numerous other cars that night, using my shopping bags I’m sure. I was fortunate that the thieves also found the workout clothes ugly as they were returned to my along with my daughter’s baby teeth after being shoved in a hedge a few blocks away, the clothes,still in there packaging. We were in the process of selling our home, we are now a traveling couple, living in a beautiful 5th wheel and cannot wait to no longer call Redding, Red Bluff, the Northstate and California home!

  15. conservative says:

    When you order something on Amazon, you can have it delivered to “Amazon locker”. Reno and Sparks each have one in a Safeway. They are also called “pickup points”. You can make that the default delivery address. Delivery to a work or business address might work depending on the business.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      I realize there is a cost involved, but we’ve had a Post Office Box forever. Online orders go directly to the Post Office, and if they are too large for our box, they are put into one of the lockers, and if they are too large for the lockers or require a signature, a card is put into our box for pick up at the counter. A bit of a hassle, but the security is worth it for us – especially since here in the sticks, mail is delivered to cluster boxes which are a target for both vandals and thieves.

    • Richard Christoph says:

      Our Safeway on Cypress also has an Amazon locker.

    • I do use Safeway’s Cuddles lockers for Amazon deliveries. In fact, I’m picking up one today. But it only works for small packages, and they’re so popular that sometimes I’ll get a message that there’s no room in the lockers, and I have to resort to mailing to my home, or my neighbor’s front door.

  16. Gloria Speigle says:

    In an attempt to be proactive I got a German Shepard and a CCW. Always use my alarm never leave anything in my car even while parked in my own garage. I have wonderful neighbors who actually come out in the middle of the night when called. My Shepard has intervened twice now but I know no one is safe. I do think a good watch dog is an excellent deterrent.

    • Yes, it helps to have good neighbors. I have exchanged phone numbers with many of my neighbors.

      I’ve been resisting getting a dog, just because I’m in the mode of not wanting to take care of anything, and have the freedom to come and go without worrying about having to be home to walk or feed an animal.

      Still thinking …

  17. Anik domb says:

    Such a sad sad state of affairs… I just don’t see any solutions…
    I’m sorry this is happening here in Redding! I think we just need to keep taking precautions, lock everything up, leave no valuables and install motion lights.
    By the way, dress is super cute, where did you order ?
    Sure hope you’re going to be able to continue to live in your neighborhood without any further occurrences .

  18. Brandon says:

    Awww, that stinks Doni. It’s like that here in Portland, Oregon too. People are pretty darn desperate and will steal ones recycling ($.10 / can) and go through the neighborhood cars looking for anything to steal. It really stinks.

  19. I have noticed many vagrants panhandling Eureka Way, the main thoroughfare through west Redding, and no doubt one of these people was the culprit. While anger is an understandable reaction, a “war” on these people will not help the situation. They’re already in a war, they’re perfectly willing to drag us into it. What we need to do keep pushing for is to get these people the drug treatment and rehabilitation services they need, despite the city of Redding and Shasta County’s repeated failures to accomplish this urgent task. It’s not the bums who are failing us. It’s the leadership.

    • K. Beck says:

      RV…to the rescue again. This says it all. Thanks!

    • Tim says:

      And what drug and rehabilitation services are we supposed to create and provide? None work well; AA is arguably the most successful organization and its success rate is approximately 10% (~35% if you use the self-selected bias of those who attend at least 6 months).

      You know what does work (at least for the productive members of society)? Locking people up…

      • The people of California have decided: They’re not willing to pay the price for locking drug offenders up. Prison realignment demands that counties stand up and provide services the prisons were formerly providing.

        The sobering center, for starters, would offer a place for cops to throw these late night prowlers to get at least some of them off the streets.

        We could go real libertarian, and just start handing out oxycontin for free, and get better results than we’re getting now.

        • Tim says:

          We don’t need to lock up drug users – we need to lock up criminals. If you burgle, you deserve to go to jail – not be hosted for a sleepover in a sobering center.

          PS: There is nothing Libertarian about “handing out” drugs –
          Libertarians earn their keep and buy their own (if they want to partake). “There is no conflict of interests among men who do not desire the unearned.” — Ayn Rand

  20. Dan says:

    🙁 Sorry. We live a few blocks away and have had “incidents” every since we moved back to Redding from Cottonwood. Debi locked herself out of our new 2018 car, and it was disconcerting how quickly the tow truck driver popped the door open and silenced the alarm. Please invigorate your neighborhood watch. A number of our neighbors work unusual shifts, and simply having them, blow a horn, call and flash lights at suspicious behavior while commuting has been extremely helpful in our neighborhood. A few of the more active members who actually patroled while walking dogs, became discouraged and moved away.

    • I’m sorry to hear some of your more active neighbors have moved away. I am active on in my new neighborhood, but know nothing about Neighborhood Watch here. I need to check it out.

  21. George Koen says:

    As I sit at my ‘home’, otherwise referred to as an illegal encampment, I want to, need to scream frustration along with you. Why, because it happened to you and happened to me. (Yes, little homeless me.)

    The criminal element, homeless or not, seem to be having a field day. Something akin to the charge of the dark brigade. As a non criminal homeless person, I hear things. People talk. Bragards like narcissists, cannot help but speak of themselves and their exploits. And yes, many are very inventive and frankly, kinda freaky.

    It is because of these types that the rest of us are treated like scum by most. I have decided, after a few years of homelessness, to delve into crafting an essay on the psychology of the homeless. I am not a clinician in the least. I am a man who knows from experience, and that to me speaks volumes.

    It is obvious that one’s mindset determines ones behavior. We can put whatever legislation into place. We can build a million shelters, but until our approach begins with the mind, success will remain diaphanous. Clouds slowly passing the hours away.

    Approximately two years ago, I started an effort via Facebook named Bridging the Divide. The premise was based upon all the negative venom delivered between the homeless and housed citizens. I invited folks from both camps to no avail. I invited them to end the assumptions, generalizations and hatred. Unfortunately, the effort died an unnoticed, whimpering death.

    Redding talks a lot. Bright and exiting hopefulness. But I have found that the hopefulness too dies a silent death.

    I too live with an amount of fear that should not be happening. Since my died last week, that fear has increased. It was not simply my home. It was a ‘homeless taxi’ for those who needed medical help. Who needed to get to a food bank. It was the way my friend got to dialysis 3× a week. It was . . . . so many things to so many. Why do I tell you this? Because generalizations and assumptions are so unfair to those of us who help others in the same Position.

    Thanks for your article and again, I am saddened this happened to you and many others. Writing neutrally and without judgement, says a lot.

    Be at peace while remembering the an uncluttered, simple life is amazingly wholesome.

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      George Koen, you must have quite a story to tell. You are obviously educated, either formally or self-educated. Are you homeless by choice? Did you lose a job or your health which put you on the streets? Do you want to remain homeless? Please elaborate and perhaps offer solutions from your point of view that Redding’s leaders have overlooked.

    • George, I am so grateful for your comments here on

      You and I will be in touch. I’d love to talk more with you.

  22. AJ says:

    I thought about ordering some of that gross faux dog poop that joke stores carry, and having it home delivered. I’d put a note in it saying” GOTTCHA YOU PIECE OF DOG POOP!” I’d leave it on the porch in hopes that some porch pirate picked it up!! I think that would assuage SOME. (Not all) of my vengeance urges. Come to think of it, not a bad idea for a package on the back seat of an unlocked car . .. . .I even thought of putting a stink bomb or an ink bomb that would detonate when opened . . . .howeveer, with my luck, it would detonate inside my car. . . . . Hmmmm

    • Beverly Stafford says:

      The national news reported – with video – a story of a man who did pretty much what you are suggesting, AJ. The package he put on his porch would make a loud bang when picked up. It was harmless, but I’d be tempted to have one that at least singed fingers.

  23. Tim says:

    Towards the end of the recall campaign, I noticed a big improvement in Redding. RPD started a “quality of life” task force that, if nothing else, harassed criminals into moving along.

    I don’t know if that program stopped after the recall failed or if it took a break for the Holidays, but I’ve noticed more and more of those “quality of life” issues creeping back up in recent weeks.

  24. I watched a news show a number of months back. They talked about crooks leaving devices under cars ( I believe it was being attached to the car) it picks up the code when you lock your doors with the electronic lock. So now they can have access to open your car with what the device reads. But to get around this a person can double click their electronic lock and the crooks device can’t read the code to open your car. They showed it working…but then again will they now resort to breaking your window if they want in.

  25. Cori says:

    I’m a little confused, was this in the West side neighborhood, or in the Garden Tract?

  26. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Yes, it is terrible. Confession- we moved. Well, I have wanted to return to Trinity County for a long time, but my wife and I feel like we have escaped Redding. It has become a terrible place to live.
    The City Council tried to pass a tax to address crime, but apparently the voters do not trust them to do what they say they will with the $$. Who can blame them, after they felt the need to rebut the Public Safety Blueprint study they paid for with tax dollars?
    Shasta County refused to fully fund the jail, too.
    Of course crime is rampant; there are no serious repercussions for committing them. If we cannot find a way to fix our catch-and-release criminal justice system, it will only get worse. No consequences, no deterrence.

    • cheyenne says:

      Some of my wife’s family, originally from Hayfork, have also left Redding to return to Trinity County, Lewiston. If we were to move back to the north state we would also move to Trinity County, probably Weaverville.
      What I find interesting is that many in Redding complain, and always have, about the Hill People. Yet the Hill People are moving back to the hills and leaving the valley to the flat landers and their own flat land problems.

      • James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

        Wall, soma us hillbillies is too dumb to make it in civulizashun, so we has to live in da hills, whar we wont embarrass dem sofistikated sorts. We dont steal from each other, so much, tho.

    • Sorry you left, James. But I understand.

  27. Kane McGee says:

    I have a snake that i keep in a black snake bag in my car. if they open it up, then i will find out who they are when they are screaming from the pain of the bite.Good luck and i welcome you to break in to my car.

  28. ML says:

    Doni, I am an ex-Redding Resident. I moved with my husband and three young children to Redding in 2000 for my husbands job. We moved back to the Bay Area in 2014. I never EVER felt safe in Redding. I couldn’t put my feeling on it, but it always seemed “off” to me. It is as if it is 10 years behind anywhere else in California. Things happen there, that don’t happen anywhere else. I tried hard to make Redding my home. We lived in a very nice, older neighborhood. We had block parties and knew each other on a first name basis. Two years into living there, on a gorgeous October afternoon, I had all our windows and screen doors open. One of those rare days you don’t need air conditioning! My husband was at work and my two girls were at elementary school. My son was napping in his bedroom. A man came to my front door and knocked. I didn’t answer, I imagined he was a door-to-door salesman. Rather than leaving, he went around to the side of my house and before I could close my bedroom windows, he had entered our house. I didn’t have enough time to get my son and I also didn’t want to let him know someone was in the house. I grabbed our phone and ran into my garage frantically dialing 911. The minutes it took the PD to arrive, seemed like hours. I was so frantic, I literally was sick to my stomach hoping and praying that my baby boy was not in danger. When they found the creep (hiding under my bed) and brought him out to the police car-he was super hyped up on crank or meth or whatever his choice of drug was. My house reeked of him, all our drawers and closets had been ransacked. The sickening feeling of him violating our home never left me. I called several weeks later to hear the status of his case and he had been released. The officer actually told me that I shouldn’t have left my windows and doors open. He recommended (as he does) to sit with a loaded pistol next to me and keep all doors and windows locked. I shouldn’t have to live like that. I should be able to be in my house and not feel threatened. I should be able to leave all my windows and doors unlocked and opened when I am home. I have that right as a homeowner. We were robbed one more time years later, we had bought a dog to protect us and they pepper sprayed her to get access to all my jewelry and two computers. My husbands car window was broken twice, rocks were thrown in neighbors car windows, mail was stolen throughout our entire neighborhood, and my children were followed home (while I was at work) by two creeps who kept asking what their dogs name was. After my kids were inside our home, the creeps kept knocking on our door scaring them to the point they were both hysterical when they called me at work. I called 911 and the creeps were never found. I know it is not perfect anywhere, but I have never regretted leaving. I loved my home, my neighbors and friends, but I hated feeling like I always had to be on high-alert when walking, running, going to the store, parking downtown, not being able to leave our children at home (while I run errands) essentially living in Redding. I just couldn’t take it any longer. We are so much happier. Yes, we have crime, we have homelessness, but I have never looked back after leaving Redding.

    • JC says:

      ML, you speak for hundreds of Redding residents. The stories may differ somewhat but the end result is the same. As long as there are no consequences or jail space for criminals, good people will continue to leave. Every day we see new residents arriving pulling their suitcases down Market St. towards South City Park and the surrounding area. I guess it is a wash?

    • Good Lord, that’s about as horrible a story as I’ve heard in Redding. I’m so sorry! I am glad you found a place where you’re happier, and feel more safe.

  29. fjm says:

    I actually used the RPD online reporting today. One small glitch-I had to enter my DL in two areas, not sure why, but I found it quick, easy, and painless. Someone came into our back yard last weekend and stole all of the bags of aluminum cans. Gates are now locked, first time in 25 years.

    • My complaint about the RPD website is it’s too many fields and too many questions. I don’t see the point in getting anything except the most basic information, unless a more serious crime has occurred. When I called in the report, it took seconds to speak to dispatch, and the later, an officer.

  30. Terry Terry says:

    Doni, I want to say that I am so sorry you are having to deal with this on top of the year you have had. That is just wrong!
    You are an amazing woman- what a role model you are for us all as you continue find ways to fight for the soul of the city. Thank you from everyone who loves Redding!
    Also, I want to give you a special Thank You for the way you are so compassionate and supportive of those of us who have chosen to leave. It means a lot.

    • Thanks, Terry. I feel like a lousy role model, since I fantasized about rat traps. But I appreciate your kind words. You’re one of the many who’ve left, and on the one hand it makes me feel sad, but on the other hand, I understand.
      I hope all is well with you in your new home.

  31. This post makes me so anxious. I lived in an area of L.A. the police were reluctant to visit. My dogs woke me up one night when two guys were crawling through my kitchen window. I screamed and drove them off with a pipe wrench I kept handy. I saw two gals crawling through the kitchen window into my neighbor’s house. I called the police but asked them not to park in front of my house. An office showed up hours later and sat at my kitchen table with my landlord visiting about playing football in high school. I will save my other, worse stories. We should not live in fear and it could be that we’re on our own to live safely. Be strong and prepared like you are Doni. And add to that a dog. LOL. I feel so much better with a companion who has better hearing than I do, and is ready to protect me!

  32. Semi-Retired says:

    Oh My Gosh! I am thinking about a writing a profanity laced tirade about the state of society, Redding police, and many peripherals dealing with this story. However, I don’t want the message lost in the delivery so I will refrain from profanity and stick to my personal opinion.
    I have lived in the same house in in my neighborhood for about 20 years. It is a nice neighborhood with open space and pleasant homes. My cars have been broken in to so many times that I don’t even bother to report these break ins to the police anymore. One time the criminals smashed the windows with rocks. Sometime in the last year I experienced another break in and because of the nature of the theft, had to file a report. The responding officer was quite rude and arrogant, everything that makes me not like police. It is my belief that some of law enforcement by the very nature of their job, dealing with the criminal element and the dregs of society on a daily basis, become jaded and treat every citizen they contact as if the citizen was a perpetrator; and, coupled with a big ego and an us versus them mentality their superiority complex makes them unpleasant to interact with.
    When Ronald Reagan defunded California mental institutions when he was governor the institutionalized people were let go and put back into society. All the ab 109 people and associated inmate release programs have put more criminals back on the street. The City of Redding can not keep incarcerated criminals in jail, there is no reduction in the numbers of criminals loose on the street. The recession 10 years ago put people out of work. Here in Shasta County, there are not many good paying jobs to be had. The homeless population has grown exponentially and there is a large element of criminals and mentally ill people in the homeless category.
    Drugs do play a part. Personally, I do not like the prohibition on cannabis and I feel that the criminals and mentally ill people who use cannabis give cannabis a bad name. Meth and opioids are in a different category, in my opinion. Alcohol is also in it’s own category. Many of the homeless trash everything they touch, including the places and areas they frequent. There are many places I just will not go because of the homeless: the River Trail, South City Park, the library, downtown, Clear Creek, Jones Valley, Safeway and more.
    It is a complex situation and I don’t know what the answer is. Mandatory work programs for the homeless?
    A repeal of the ab109 and similar release programs? More jail space, funding and legislation to keep criminals in jail and prison?
    The Oregon coast does sound nice.

  33. Patti Anderson says:

    Doni, once again we are in 100% agreement. Five years ago I was the victim of a daytime burglar (a woman). I was at work and she was being chauffeured around town looking for places to break into. And yes, my doors were locked, all of them. I didn’t get anything back, and I went to more of her court appearances than she did. Eventually she did 4 years in Chowchilla. Those were the good old days when criminals were still being punished. I have talked to a number of reformed criminals and they say the kinder, sympathetic approach does not work. What works is incarceration and holding them accountable. Saying “it’s happening everywhere, so get used to it” is incredibly lame and does not make me feel any better about living here. I am sick to my stomach watching the rapid decline of our quality of life in the last 10 years. Too many well-meaning do-gooders, combined with too much hand-wringing and not enough action by our leaders during that time (most of whom have retired & moved to other states). Sadly, it might be too late unless the voters say “enough” and vote for more security/public safety and hold the State of CA accountable too. Tell your leaders you have had enough. Absent that, best to save your hard-earned $ for rat traps, a Club & bars on your windows. Don’t forget a nice loud expensive burglar alarm. Redding is not Stockton yet, but it’s not Mayberry anymore either. If you need help cleaning out your garage so you can park your car inside, let me know and I’ll give up a weekend to help you. You have my phone #.

    • Patti, I know you know what you’re talking about. And you are very kind to offer to help with my garage. I’m working on it.

      My favorite line of your comment: “Redding is not Stockton yet, but it’s not Mayberry anymore either. ” That pretty much sums it up.

      Stay safe!

  34. name says:

    It is really too bad that we cannot handle these people with effective methods which would result in stopping this type of behavior. I’m talking about tuning them up really good if/when you catch them trying to break into private property/vehicles. A stint in the ICU, permanent nerve damage, a partial loss of hearing/sight – that would make them think twice before attempting to steal again.

    But, alas, if I did that then I would be the one in prison, instead of the person who deserves it. I guess a person could claim self-defense, but there are probably too many cameras, maybe witnesses around these days…

  35. Common Sense says:

    Wow! Sorry this happened to you AGAIN…Hopefully, you didn’t have a remote in the car for the garage door.I understand the smarter ones take those to come back at a later time.Pretty scary.Never thought of that until a couple years ago when a friend of a friend said their car got broken into and the only thing missing was the garage remote!

    Things have certainly changed here….and most places. Other than having more jail space….actually keeping them in jail and having the necessary staff to do all that, not sure what can be done other than people getting to the point of either moving out of the area,city, or actually standing up and DEMANDING our Politicians Do Something about this!

    It all starts with Money….Money to expand the jail and or open up the top floor if it hasn’t been yet…followed by staffing….all those things cost money….But with the Recent Just Say NO To 64….there won’t BE any new money!….No State Grants now/no tax money to work with……there will be consequences to the just say No to 64 decision…..very sad.

    • Richard Christoph says:

      Redding residents had the opportunity to address these issues by voting for Measure D, which would have cost the average family less than $5 per month and generated an estimated $11,000,000 per year. But in their infinite wisdom, the majority of voters rejected that proposal and now complain endlessly that someone should DO SOMETHING!

      • Semi-Retired says:

        Wasn’t there no guarantee that those funds, if approved, would not just go into the general fund?
        Common Sense has a valid point. The City Of Shasta Lake has adult use cannabis shops open and conducting business right now today! The rest of Shasta County, in their Reefer Madness says no. This only promotes the black market where no taxes are collected. Thank you supervisors and city council members.

        • Semi-Retired says:

          As if the City Of Redding needs more decorative street lamps and manhole covers!

        • Richard Christoph says:

          Measure E, though not legally binding, directed that those funds be directed exclusively to public safety, and as you may or may not know, a legally binding proposition would have required a 67% vote to pass. A similar proposition for a 1/4 cent sales tax in 2014 which DID guarantee that the revenue would be used solely for public safety garnered over 56% of the vote, but still fell far short of the 67% required for passage.

          • Tim says:

            The Grand Jury recommendation that the city use any Stillwater rents to repay Stillwater bonds was also non-binding. And summarily disregarded…

            Fact is, the city is a junkie that will always use whatever revenue it gets. Public safety spending (and revenue) is actually up since 2002-2004, even adjusted for inflation. But we’re now paying police officers $175,000/year because our council agreed to massive raises ~15 years ago and no one has the spine to say “sorry, that was unreasonable & unsustainable and we can’t keep paying this much.”

    • I know better than to leave the garage remote in the car, but it’s always good to remind folks of that.

  36. Peggy says:

    Doni.. I know you said we were not to say park your car in the garage…however…I recommend it highly. Cars parked in driveways and on the street seem to attract thieves. When I first moved to town 17 years ago my car was burglarized. I was parking in the driveway…my garage was full of boxes. I made it a priority to get my car in the garage. It not get burglarized again it gave me a massive amount of peace of mind..alarm system, garage door opener, all good. You could move your boxes to storage even and get that peace of mind…worth it…

  37. R. C. Irvine says:

    Dear Doni, we can thank our courts, governor, and Democrat controlled legislature for a good part of the criminal problem. 10,000 plus prisoners released to the streets because they were “overcrowded.” AB 109. A few other laws that reduce or eliminate consequences for theft, selling drugs, some assaults, breaking and entering, etc. Now there is move afoot to eliminate bail. So why not commit crimes? Consequences are non-existent.
    We desperately need legislators and a governor who care about the safety and security of our citizens more than they care about the criminals. Until then, stay alert and do all you can to keep yourself and your family safe.

  38. Mary Lewis says:

    Doni, so sorry to hear that despite of moving you have been burglarized again. We moved here 16 years ago. My 2nd day living in Redding, someone stole my coat that was draped over my cart in Longs at Churn Creek. I had only turned my head for a moment to pick up some shelf paper and this nasty female thief grabbed my coat and started running for the door. I was screaming for someone to stop her but to no avail. I was shocked that the police didn’t seemed interested in filing a report and blamed me for not leaving it in the car…. OK fast forward a couple of years, my new coat is stolen out of my locked alarmed car again after being being gone only 20 mins and again
    the police had no interest in filing a report. They told me I shouldn’t have left my coat in the car. We moved out to the country and all was well until we moved back to Redding last year.
    We were not even finished unpacking when someone broke into our locked car one night and stole several items including my hub’s coat and mine as well. 3 children’s hoodies were stolen, too. When we called the police they chided us for leaving things in our alarmed locked car and offered no assistance. Since when did it become our fault and not that of the thief? AND it seems that it’s easier for the local PD to place blame on all of us than to take the time to write up a report and actually do some good police work!

  39. Russell K. Hunt says:

    The County Supervisors have yapped about a new jail for years. Measure J will construction a 200 person work camp on Clear Creek Rd. It will build the 100 person Adult Rehab Center on Breslauer. It will convert Courtrooms 1 and 2 to bunk bed dormitories for level 2 prisoners (166 people). It will build new courtrooms next to the jail to replace 1 and 2. But later, when the new courthouse is built, this space will be converted to a kitchen space freeing up the kitchen basement for an additional 66 beds. And it will create the structural design for a new jail tower. The sales tax will be raised 1/2 cent for five years on a county wide basis. Measure “JJ” is a 6% motel (TOT) tax which will include vacation rentals and house boats on a countywide basis above the existing rates. It will fund the operation of facilities indefinitely.

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