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‘To Catch a Thief’

Posted by mbinker On July - 18 - 2012

Illinois Valley residents, frustrated with burglaries and mischief, have turned to social media to share information and, it is hoped, curtail the sorts of theft rings recently uncovered in other parts of Southern Oregon.

Carol Dickson’s introductory post on a new Facebook group formed to help spread information about crime in Illinois Valley. The page has grown to include members  from all over Josephine County.

Valley resident Carol Dickson started the open Facebook group, “To Catch a Thief,” Tuesday morning, July 17. Within hours the site had more than 150 members. By Wednesday afternoon, the site was closing in on 300 members and had garnered county-wide attention.

Neighborly advice, regarding mail safety, found on the group page.

“It started when one of my facebook friends posted that someone had stolen a John Deere tractor with backhoe attachment from the Holland Loop area,” Dickson told the I.V. Daily View. “He mentioned that the owner had recently died and the house had been trashed.  It infuriated me so I shared it on my page thinking that locals may see it somewhere.”
The group is open for anyone to read, and any Facebook user can become a member. The idea was to share information with as many people as possible and have a central place to post the information.
Dickson created a tab within the group titled “Stolen Property” where members can post photos of stolen items. The image is “tagged” with the owner’s name, said Dickson, “so if we need to find out who owns the property, we don’t have to search through all of the posts.  I’ve also listed some guidelines for useful information to post.”
Not a few of those joining the group are Josephine County law enforcement or criminal justice professionals.
“ It can be a resource for them too,” Dickson said.  ” To me it is just an added resource to a physical Neighborhood Watch program and on a grand scale.  My 50 friends tell their 50 friends who tell their 50 friends and so on.”
Dickson has warned against vigilantism, stressing this is more like a Virtual Neighborhood Watch.
With a background in law enforcement, Dickson knows the value of the eyes and ears of the average citizen.
“One of the few disadvantages of living in a rural community is generally law enforcement is ‘reactive’ rather than ‘pro-active’,” she said. “They come after the fact and take the report and/or pick up the pieces.  My thought is if someone sees any of this property, the owner can call Oregon State Police to standby with them while they recover the property.”
She said that the database and the idea that citizens are paying attention might discourage some criminals.
“I think it’s a little bit like America’s Most Wanted,” said Dickson. “Just the fact that millions of people watch the show means the bad guys are always looking over their shoulder.  I’m hoping if the word gets out about this that it may discourage this criminal behavior in some of our neighborhoods. “
“I have always found that neighborhoods with people who keep their eyes and ears open have fewer problems than other neighborhoods. “

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10 Responses

  1. Carol Dickson Says:


    THANK YOU for helping to get the word out!!

    Posted on July 18th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

  2. Rick Says:

    She’s the one that got the Dutch Bros mascot taken down.

    I’ll pass on anything she’s involved in.

    Posted on July 19th, 2012 at 11:03 am

  3. Jill Says:

    What does redneck have to do with it?
    It was probably a redneck that STOLE the tractor!

    Posted on July 19th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

  4. PBS-CJ Says:

    I believe this is a great idea, no matter who is involved. Petty stuff, like a business’s mascot, should not have any bearing on the community as a whole. That said:

    I have looked through the page, and have been accepted as a “member”. My issue is that many people on the page have given out WAY too much information, “I’ve got guns!” “I’ve got dogs.”, “I’ve got a video surveillance system”, etc., about what they have at home, or at their business. If members of this group think that the thieves are not also monitoring the page, and this website, they are delusional.

    The LAST thing you want to do is show your hand. And, by publicly stating, using your real name (traceable through phone books, internet, JoCo Assessors page, etc), “I have guns”, “I have dogs”, “I am impenetrable”, you are inviting the thieves to a challenge. Dogs can be bypassed/disabled, surveillance systems can be disabled, security systems can be disabled.

    How many of the members have looked at the list of JoCoSheriff’s unclaimed recovered items? And how many surveillance systems, firearm magazines, etc are up for auction next month.

    I just think that people need to be wary. Watch, listen and document. Watch out for their neighbors, as well as themselves. (That’s what a “community” does.)
    Not present a challenge to these low lifes.

    People need to THINK FIRST.

    Posted on July 29th, 2012 at 8:48 pm

  5. Jill Says:

    trying to pit Rednecks against others is not petty

    Posted on July 30th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

  6. Rick Says:

    Wow! Thanks PBS.

    I was under the impression that local redneck burglars avoided challenges rather than accepting them.
    I thought that they would most likely move on to an easier target rather than accepting a challenging job.
    Rednecks must have a good work ethic. You know, they must want to accept a challenge in order to improve their skills.
    I guess I just wasn’t “thinking”.
    Thanks for setting me straight.

    Posted on July 31st, 2012 at 1:42 pm

  7. PBS-CJ Says:

    “trying to pit Rednecks against others is not petty”
    What the fudge does a mascot have to do with “rednecks”?

    “I guess I just wasn’t “thinking”.”
    That is correct.

    Posted on August 2nd, 2012 at 3:41 pm

  8. PBS-CJ Says:

    Posted on August 4th, 2012 at 11:19 am

  9. michael Says:

    Please ask Carol Dickson to look inti what is called the counties CAFR accounts and if allowed she will discover enough money in these hidden county accounts to provide ample police for her county.The oldest trick in the book that government agencies pull to drain more money from the taxpayers is first cutback on police and fire protection and then the school funds.This seperate set of books kept by every county, city, school board
    ,and state government has billions set aside collecting money from thier invested secret accounts it is a national shame. Do not allow these agencies to divert your energy and your resources cemand an accountability of these fund that came from taxing you, your money and dont forget your court system either. To really take back your power first get educated second take back control of your grand jury system you own it not prosecutors or judges or slimeball mafia attorney tricksters who swear an oath to WHO? file a lawsuit in superior court to review the CAFR accounts.Go to

    Posted on October 17th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

  10. Debra Stefanick Says:

    Carol would let me on your to catch a theif website. Thanks Debra

    Posted on March 31st, 2013 at 10:33 pm

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