Thursday, October 2, 2003
Residents of an otherwise peaceful Hood River neighborhood are frustrated by the theft of solar lights from their street
“Every day I feel blessed that we are living in this town but I think there is a little bit of an awakening that needs to happen here,” said Gupta Prashant, treasurer of the Bowe Addition Homeowners Association.
He said the subdivision off St. Charles Place appears to have been hit by culprits who are also committing criminal acts in other locations. On Monday, Prashant reinstalled 12 solar lights at the entrance to his neighborhood. He had removed the beacons in late August after several were destroyed within days of being set in place as part of a continuing beautification project.
“They just cost $100 but they added a lot to our community,” he said.
Although Prashant decided to give the lights another try, he said it is troubling that residents now have to be watchful of activity along their streets. He said homeowners are no longer able to just enjoy the landscaped setting around the welcoming sign that was installed last year. The Homeowner’s Association decided to purchase the solar lights because they wanted more illumination along the roadway but didn’t want to pay the high cost of a pole light. In addition, Prashant said the smaller illuminaries are also energy efficient since they didn’t require the use of electricity.
“If these lights can be taken from this place then anything can happen here,” said his wife, Priti.
The Prashants said the issue isn’t really just about missing lights; to them it is about what appears to be an ongoing problem with juvenile behavior throughout the county.
Hood River County Juvenile Department Director Donita Huskey-Wilson said that parents hold the key for stopping their children from becoming involved in negative behavior. She said the best defense is a strong offense — know who the teen is spending time with, where he/she is at and set up perimeters about their activities.
“Parents have the ultimate responsibility for the actions of their child until they are 18, they need to make provisions for their child to be in an activity when they are not available or get a babysitter,” said Huskey-Wilson.
She also said the community can help fight crime by reporting all incidents to the police so that an investigation can be promptly conducted.