An uneasy community

Holly* is nervous. When evening hits, she said she often feels herself getting tense and nervous, wondering what the night will bring.

Holly, who lives in Sherwood Village, isn’t alone. About 10 other residents — mostly women — gather at Holly’s home and most of them say they have experienced similar restless nights. Others, who aren’t at Holly’s, have reported the same thing.

For the past year, longer according to some residents, many people living in the mostly-retired community off North Fifth Avenue have experienced disturbances in the late-night hours.

“(Someone) rings the doorbell or knocks on the walls real loud,” said Holly, who lives alone and said she always closes and locks all doors and windows to her home. “I am afraid to go to the door.”

For Mary, another Sherwood Village resident who lives alone, the late-night commotion began nearly three years ago when she heard knocking on the wall outside of her bedroom.

“I couldn’t see out there,” said Mary, who added that she immediately called the police, who reported to the scene immediately.

While the residents of the 184-unit community say they cannot detect a pattern in the time of night or location within Sherwood Village of the disturbances, they said they noticed that it is mostly women who have reported the occurrences.

“It can make a person feel very uncomfortable,” said resident Amy, who lives in the community with her husband.

Amy said while she has not experienced any goings-on at her own home, she has noticed suspicious people lurking around her neighborhood.

“One night I went to look at the moon and saw a person standing next to my neighbor’s house looking in,” said Amy, adding that she could not tell if it was a male or a female. “I knocked on the wall and the person ran off.”

While the disturbances themselves are upsetting to residents, they all reported that nothing was ever stolen or badly damaged, nor did it seem that anyone had tried to enter the homes.

Holly had a surveillance camera installed near her front door but soon after the lens had become so scratched that visibility was impossible.

The annoyances aren’t just at the door — several residents reported getting evening phone calls with no one on the line.

The women say they contact the Sequim Police Department after each occurrence. After several reports, officer Maris Turner and others from the police department helped several neighborhoods within Sherwood Village form Block Watch programs.

“I think most people are willing to watch out for their neighbors,” Amy said.

Turner said the police are always happy to respond to calls made by residents.

“Our investigation and assistance there hasn’t stopped,” she said of the Sequim police. “We can’t be everywhere at once but we can try and prevent anything that’s going on.”

Holly said she knows some people think the problem is imagined.

“I know some people think it’s just us old ladies who are dreaming things up,” she said. “But see how many people are here? How can we all be dreaming things up?”

Mary said while the disturbances can be frightening, she refuses to let whomever, or whatever, is making the commotion win.

“It doesn’t bother me anymore,” she said. “I just sleep through it. I still feel safe here. I do.”

*To protect the safety of the residents, real names were not used.

Safety First

Officer Maris Turner of the Sequim Police Department has a few safety reminders for all residents:

“Have a lot of lighting, even sensor lighting, trim shrubbery and bushes around the home,” she said. “Having open areas where people can’t hide is a good idea. People don’t want to be seen if they are committing crimes.”

If you do notice suspicious activity, alert the police.

“If we don’t know about it, we can’t be there,” she said. “I encourage everyone to report anything they see in their own neighborhoods or around the community.”

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