Monday, March 16, 2009

How to test if your neighborhood is safe

**Do not try this. EVER. **

I like my neighborhood. I like it more and more all the time. When we first moved in (in 2006 -we rented the house for a year before the owner decided to sell it), I was too focused on the glory of having a yard and a door that went directly to the outside that I didn't notice the neighborhood imperfections right away.

Soon, I noticed there was some problems with the house two doors down. I claimed for months and months to Dan that is was a "crack house". He called me crazy. He blamed it on my obsession with The Wire and left it at that. Then, our mail was stolen. Many times. During the day. Paychecks were taken. Again, I blamed it on the "crack house".

The cops started showing up at the house. Again, Dan denied the "crack house" was an actual crack house. Then cops came to our house by mistake. This all got annoying. A broken down looking van started showing up on the street. I claimed it was surveillance, Dan claimed it was just a regular van.

I heard a car drive up to the "crack house" and say to the tenant "where's my re-up?". Yeah, I watch The Wire. I know what a freakin' re-up is. Dan assumed I was making it up. I mean, I admit to getting a little too excited about it. Not in a good one, but in a curious way.

One day, we came home and noticed there was an entire house worth of furniture and house goods left on the sidewalk. After calling 311 to let them know the 411 I ran into my neighbor who knew the owner of the house and asked him what the deal was. He was all "Oh, the tenants were squatting for months. A few weeks ago the cops did a big drug raid and busted a lot of the people. The owner was finally able to kick them out." Ha!!!!

Surveillance van? Perhaps. Crack house? Definitely.

Now that the house has new tenants there have been no problems in the neighborhood and all is well and good. They moved out a year ago and we have seen a big difference. It just feels safer and all around a better place to live.

Fast-forward to this morning. I walk out the car and notice that Dan not only left the trunk of the car wide open since yesterday afternoon, but the car was also unlocked. Ummm. . . not good. However, nothing was missing and it looked like it had gone unnoticed. Thankfully it was in our parking spot and not on the street.

Not the best way to test the safety of your surroundings, but I was pleased it worked out OK.


Shane and Casey said...

How about leaving all the doors on your cars unlocked, garage doors left open with brand new appliances in them, house doors unlocked, and main floor windows open?

One of the pros of living in North Dakota I suppose :)

Ben said...

Ah, yes. The joys of non-urban living. I was there once. I remember not worrying if the doors were unlocked and the only reason to close the garage door was because it was a big ol' mess in there!

Anonymous said...

Ha.. your story just reminded me. I was at my parents house one night. Mind you they live in a gated community in Southern Cali. When I pulled up I noticed a beat up van, thought nothing of it until the knock at the door. It was DEA, undercover showing a mug shot around of a drug dealer and asking if we'd seen this person in the neighborhood. They were very furtive and mysterious. We hadn't seen the person and the van was gone in the morning. I knew we were under surveillance, and thought they probably should have used a nicer car for a more upscale neighborhood. Never heard anything more about it.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I forget to lock my car doors at night, I come out in the morning to find someone has gone through my change slot and glove box. I guess that means my neighborhood aint so safe. The shooting and murder on the block may also be an indicator.

Michele said...

A toast to Urban Living, Crack Houses, Drug Dealers, Thieves, Squatters and Blight.

There is nothing more adventurous than living the urban life.


Lauren said...

This is great! I live in Richmond, VA and have often felt like there were drug dealers roaming my block. I try to ignore it and move on but the thought still comes back to me each time I see them. I also agree that being a huge fan of The Wire does not ease my fears. It only confirms what I already know! Thanks for the interesting story!

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