Luncheon Notes, May 17, 2011-05-23


Ellen Kosmer opened the meeting, substituting for President Vivienne Carey, who is away.


the police.  Don’t touch anything or clean up.  Finger prints could be on door knobs, Nancy Brose brought Melissa Kroodsma as her guest.



  1. Phyllis Lehrer reminded members of the Community Fair  on May 19-21;
  2. Ruth Miller offered lilacs from her yard to those who are lilac deprived;
  3. Ruth also reminded those who signed up for the cruise to pay for their tickets ($14 for seniors).


Phyllis introduced Sgt. Detective David Knightly who has worked for the Amherst Police Force for 25 years. He is in charge of the investigation of the many break-ins and robberies in the Amherst area within the last year.


Sgt. Knightly began by saying not to panic, that there are fewer break-ins this spring than there were last summer/fall.  Moreover, the break-ins are not similar to those of last fall; copy-cats are common.   He said that there has been one officer dedicated exclusively to the case for a year now, and the force is making good progress in solving the crimes.


Sgt. Knightly said that most break-ins occur between midnight and 4 AM.  He offered many suggestions concerning safety measures in order to prevent a break-in:

  • Join or form a neighborhood watch group.  South Amherst held a meeting of 300  and North Amherst had a meeting with 150 in attendance, many who later formed effective neighborhood groups:
  • Keep doors and first floor windows locked at night;
  • Put deadbolts on exterior doors;
  • Install motion lights around the exterior of your home;
  • Install  an alarm system for the house, and alarms on windows that are in plain view and easy to access;
  • Trim bushes next to the house to discourage prowlers;
  • If away for more than a day, put lights on timers, tell neighbors and ask them to bring in mail & newspapers;
  • Remove laptops, purses, jewelry, etc from view & easy access overnight;
  • Keep a telephone and car keys with alarm button next to the bed at night;
  • Don’t leave trash barrels out overnight or ladders outside in plain view;
  • Be alert to dogs barking, unusual noises, breaking glass, car doors slamming;
  • Be careful with strangers at your door, and do not let them into your house;
  • Report any suspicious activity to the police.


Knightly also gave advice if/when a break-in does occur.  He said to avoid confrontation with the intruder; lock yourself in a bedroom or bathroom and call police.  If you come home to a break-in with things taken, walk out of the house, go to a neighbor’s and call windows, things moved, etc which are important to an investigation.  Footprints are as important as fingerprints too.    The Amherst Police have an in-house lab to test for prints, DNA and other vital information.  The MA State Police labs are also used on occasion.


There were many questions that followed the talk, but Sgt. Knightly declined to answer those that may be related to the ongoing investigation.


Two Club members won the lottery for wine and money, but I don’t remember who they were.


Scribe for the day,

Carolyn Holstein