Over the past year or so, the unincorporated community of Finland has seen occasional spikes in local criminal activity. With the string of cabin break-ins in neighboring Isabella in 2018 as well as a few other incidents of theft, Finland residents were starting to feel ill at ease.
"People have become a little bit uneasy," Friends of the Finland Community Director Honor Schauland said. "This is a community where people, in the past, might not always lock their doors, so I think with multiple break-ins in the area over the past few months, that has people a little more on edge."
A reported break-in at the Finland Cooperative General Store in January finally pushed the community to hold a meeting. About 85 residents gathered in the Clair Nelson community center on Jan. 30 to discuss community safety.
"We had the Lake County Sheriff's Office here to give us an update. They told us what they could, but they also couldn't tell us very much since they're actively pursuing the case," Schauland said. "But even that helped with the public perception. For the following week, we noticed more patrols and that showed people that they were taking things seriously."
Following the Sheriff's Office briefing, residents discussed ways they can help each other and make the community safer.
"The businesses are working together to look out for each other and to figure out camera systems so we have more camera coverage. The community overall talked about how we can all do something to help," Schauland said. "We don't want to be overly suspicious of each other, but to look out for your neighbors. It doesn't hurt to check in and make sure everything's OK."
The residents also spoke about possibly starting a community watch organization. In the weeks following the meeting, Schauland said she's noticed neighbors checking in on each other more often, as well as more Sheriff's Office vehicles patrolling the area.