> This policy well-articulated below is my policy in cities, including
> San Francisco. It shocks me that it happens like that also in a more
> rural area. A few years ago, I did read thieves had stolen the metal
> memorial plaques that people bought to put in benches along the coast
> in Half Moon Bay. What is happening along the coast?
I spent my teen years living in a house that backed up to Hwy 1, 6 miles
south of Carmel. The coast has always had a "minor crime" problem on
the highway. Travelers, homeless, people who subside on the edges of
solvency and are always on the look-out for a quick buck - they all tend
to travel Hwy 1 because they can walk or hitchhike (unlike the freeways
further inland) and if they are driving they can pull over and park and
sleep in their car, or if they are on foot they can slip off the highway
into the brush along a creek or down to a beach and camp for the night
without worrying about being run off by a home owner, farmer or rancher,
or cop. They don't usually trespass into people's homes or yards, but
they will take advantage of rural out-buildings, cars parked along the
highway, benches out on the bluff, etc. - anywhere they can take
something and the risk of getting caught is low. Many years ago I had
tack stolen out of my tack room, a small building hard to see from the
highway, no houses nearby to see if someone was up there messing about
when they shouldn't be.
I made 3 big mistakes when my purse was stolen:
1) We hiked out on the bluff out of sight from our car.
2) We pulled the car off the highway on a dirt road (old highway) where
it was mostly (but not entirely) hidden from highway traffic by a berm,
thinking this was "safer" but all it did was give the crook more privacy
to break in and take my purse without being seen.
3) I left my purse visible on the floor of the front seat.
With hindsight, I would have left the car parked right on the road (more
visible, less hidden, more risky if someone tries to break in), where we
could see it from the bluff, and I would have either taken my purse with
me, or put it somewhere totally out-of-sight.