Armed with flashlights, we were determined to find the intruders.

The incessant screech of the alarm would have made it hard to hear anyone rustling in the brush or running away. Wearing flip flops, I wasn’t going to be running fast toward or away from anyone I encountered.

This is what happens when a neighbor’s house alarm goes off and you know they aren’t home. You go investigate. You don’t wait for the cops to arrive.

Many alarm systems have it so a series of neighbors are called to alert them; this way someone is likely to check in on the house in question. Days later an alarm went off at another neighbor’s. This time we left the oversight to those on the call list.

This is what it means to be a good neighbor, a vecina or vecino. There are formal neighborhood watch programs here, and sites to keep track of what is going on, email lists to be part of to know about any crime or other police calls, like horses in the middle of the road.

I have two neighbors in Todos Santos who I rely on for so many things. Safety is one of them. They know when I’m gone, if someone should be at the house, and one has a key if need be.

I called Connie when the alarm started going off at the other neighbors’. She said she was on her way, was going to drive there. I said I would meet her out front. In the meantime, another neighbor came out, said she had called the police. Armed with her air horn and my flashlight/weapon, we went up the driveway of the house in question. (Instead of using an air horn for bears as would be the norm in Tahoe, in Todos Santos we use them for intruders to get them to run off and to call attention to ourselves for help.)

Nothing looked amiss from the front. Peering in we could see the dog. There wasn’t much to steal as these neighbors were about to move.

Connie arrived with a similar long, heavy duty flashlight that could do some serious damage if someone were to be whacked with it. Anita left us to secure the premises. We walked around the exterior. No windows were open or broken.

Then two officers arrived. I told them my friend spoke better Spanish; so Connie shared information with them. It was a little disconcerting that one of the officers asked to borrow my flashlight because he didn’t have one. A flashlight seems like a basic tool in the world of law enforcement; guess not in Todos Santos.

The officers didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. Maybe it was a gecko that triggered the alarm. After all, we all share our dwellings with those little creatures.

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