The recent theft of the deer sculpture, among other unfortunate happenings around Idyllwild, has prompted me to question whether or not I am a good “community watcher.”

As the chair for Idyllwild Deer Sightings, it made sense that I would notice the sculpture missing. What didn’t make sense was that, although the sculpture was located on a main street and missing for two days, no other resident seemed to notice.

My initial reaction was disappointment, but then I turned the mirror on myself. I wondered how often I was not attuned to other happenings around town that I could have, or moreover, should have noticed. Sadly, like many of us living in the seclusion of Idyllwild’s charm, I am the first to admit that I may have allowed my guard to be down when it came to other situations in town.

So what is a community watcher? The good news is that no age restriction, membership forms or signs for your yard are required. As a community watcher, all you need to do is be aware.

Being a “watcher” means being sensitive to changes in our community, including recognizing the good of our community.

It is not about being paranoid or suspicious. It is about recognizing when someone needs help and/or is doing something good. It is about becoming a better observer and stepping forward when something seems out of sorts. In short, it is about taking ownership of our town.

This recent theft has been an eye-opening experience and has sparked a sense of urgency in protecting what is rightly ours. Our trust was stolen and outrage is coming from all directions, which increases my confidence that Idyllwild has the foundation necessary to rally together as a community of watchers.

Working closely with Capt. Ray Wood of the Hemet Sheriff’s Department, I am most appreciative of that partnership. Communication from him and the local deputy is to be applauded.

Also, a special appreciation goes to the 29 families who pledged the $2,000 reward. (Note: As of 5 p.m. Friday, March 7, the posted reward will expire and no longer be available.)

Whether the sculpture is retrieved or not, I hope this experience and written reflection increases community awareness as a whole. I know it has changed my outlook.

Shanna Robb
Idyllwild Deer Sightings Chair