Lisa lives in Houston, in the Heights, near W. 20th Street. Lisa lives in a part of Houston known as much for its potlucks as its patchy lawns, as much for its charming garage sales as for its struggling football team (the local high school nearly holds the state record for most consecutive losses in a season). It’s a tight knit community where neighbors watch out for one another, and on one evening a few months ago, it was neighbors who called the police when a strange man entered Lisa’s garage as her car pulled in.
Half a minute was all the time the man needed to sneak into Lisa’s garage, but it was not enough time for him to hide. Lisa turned off her car and spotted the intruder almost immediately. One glance in her rearview mirror and Lisa saw his silhouette against the boxes of Christmas decorations recently boxed up and stacked against the garage wall. Her garage door was still open, and the man was backlit. She couldn’t make out the features of his face. Just his size. He stared at her. Then he ran away.
Shaken, Lisa closed her garage door immediately with the garage door opener button just outside the door to the interior of her home. Then she went inside to call the police. They told her one of her neighbors had beaten her to it. Someone, some self-appointed Neighborhood Watch-person, had seen the man loitering on the street as he or she returned from work. Later, the good samaritan watched as the would-be intruder entered Lisa’s garage behind her. The police were summoned immediately.
By the time the police were on the scene, Lisa’s nerves had calmed down considerably. Now she has this advice for her neighbors, including the one who may have saved her life: “Close your garage door as quickly as possible. You never know whether someone will be waiting behind you.”