Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The 'Hood

A side effect of the housing slump is that my townhouse is worth approximately $25-50K less than I paid for it, depending on what tool you use on any given day. It's depressing really, especially in light of the fact that we have some rather unsavory types coming into the neighborhood lately.

It started with two middle schoolers who would walk over and spend time with a couple of the girls in our neighborhood. No worries, right? Except that suddenly our neighborhood was becoming littered with Coke cans, candy wrappers, plastic bags, and other such teenage detritus. I complained to the property manager who just said that if they hired someone to clean it up, our HOA fees would go up. She said there was really nothing she could do about the problem, even though the boys didn't live here. She said to call the cops if they were doing something wrong (ummm....like littering?)

So I let it go, in my frustration. And then one of the boys kept coming back with what looked to be his older brother, a sullen young man with a goatee and a stare fixed on the ground. The only thing he said as he passed us on our walk was, "Does he bite?" As he kept walking faster and passed within chomping distance of Bodhi. This young man keeps coming back. There is nothing here for him. He's too old for school, and neither him nor his brother live here.

I really got concerned when I saw this young man hanging out in the picnic area along a dark stretch of our walk one night. This is normally a peaceful part of my walk, as we traverse the common areas along the trails. He was pacing in the darkest part of the area and pretended not to see me. He will never meet my eyes.

And now yesterday, during our afternoon walk around 3 o'clock, I saw a whole gang of them walking together, younger and older, into our neighborhood. They set up shop on the picnic tables and just hung out. My thoughts are that they are up to no good. My thoughts are that the young man is dealing drugs in my back yard, and I don't like it. I've become fearful of taking the dogs on our evening walk, since I am alone. Drug dealers are usually armed, and I don't want either me or the dogs to be hurt.

Hubby suggested getting a shotgun to keep in the house. I said I'd rather have an alarm system. I'm not comfortable with guns. He doesn't like the idea that these lowlifes are hanging around and I am unarmed. I don't like the idea of these lowlifes hanging around and driving down the neighborhood. We've already lost enough value in this dreadful economy, and we don't need drug dealers hanging around and making things worse. Next thing you know, the gang signs I've seen on the bridge nearby will be painted on my back fence. No thanks. I don't belong in their territory, and they don't belong in mine.

I talked to the deputy sheriff who handles this area yesterday. They are going to increase patrols and show some presence around here. I am to call them if I see the young man hanging out there again at night so they can check him out. I don't like doing this, but I also don't like having to be afraid and watchful in my own neighborhood. One of the reasons I moved here is because it was peaceful and quiet. We all know each other here. That's kind of how I spotted something out of the ordinary.

Let's just hope that this doesn't get any worse. I like it here, and I plan to stay for awhile. And I don't want to be armed. I don't think I could bring myself to shoot anyone (or anything). I'm no Sarah Palin!

Peace - D


Akelamalu said...

There was a period round here where gangs of youths (male and femle) were hanging around the streets drinking alcohol and generally making a nuisance of themselves. They weren't old enough to drink and the off licence that well selling them alcohol was breaking the law despite numerous warnings from the police. Neighbours got together and constantly complained to the police until they shut down the off licence and the constant police presence drove them away. I know kids have to have somewhere to go and it wouldn't have been a problem if they hadn't been drinking and disturbing the neighbourhood. They didn't live in the neighbourhood either, understandably they don't make a nuisance on their own doorstep do they? :(

Mental P Mama said...

If the police are a common presence, they won't continue to hang there. I would have no problem calling them if I felt threatened or scared. My husband is a retired detective, and he would tell you the same thing if he weren't out playing golf. That is what part of your tax dollars are for. Safety.

Hilary said...

I echo MpM's comment about having a police presence. I also laughed at what I first thought MpM said.. that playing golf was what your tax dollars are for. ;)

Moannie said...

Oh dear, here we go again. Bored, over indulged children holding our piece of mind to ransome.

Sadly, it is because you live in a nice quiet area that the local yobs are attracted, it is virgin territory without police activity.

Hope a more visible police presence does the trick.

San said...

Doris, that's a difficult situation. I'm with you--I wouldn't want a gun in the house. It's a shame though not to feel safe when you take a walk.

Our neighborhood is a rural subdivison and has little police presence too, but it's SO out of the way, we also don't have a lot of crime and I am really grateful.
Almost fifteen years ago, however, we rented a place in what appeared to be a pleasant neighborhood. We had recently moved here and didn't want to buy a house until we were sure our gallery could make a go of it. Well, in that pleasant-seeming neighborhood our next-door neighbors were burglarized (lost a computer and stereo equipment) and one of our kids' friends had all of his Christmas presents stolen before Christmas! And on my 40th birthday, I woke up to discover my headlights had been stolen. I told the mailman, who happened to be an ex-policeman. He said there was a group of parolees living several doors down and they were probably responsible for everything. Shudder.

SandyCarlson said...

Enough to drive you nuts. A friend and I recently joked that we would brig the Dustbowl Look back into fashion after watching a derranged New Yorker walk on by with a pair of bedraggled and unfastened overalls go by. And here we are.

I hope they clear out and give you peace.

david mcmahon said...

Hope things sort themselves out - soon.

RiverPoet said...

Akela - How true. They always seem to go to the nicer neighborhoods to raise a ruckus. :-(

MPM - Thanks for the encouraging words. Funny enough, they weren't around yesterday!

Hilary - I know, at first that's how I read it, too! We're paying for golf!

Moannie - Yes, they seem to gravitate toward the nice neighborhoods. Yesterday was good, though. The common areas were blissfully empty.

San - I know. I really don't like guns AT ALL. They make me nervous. I'm so glad you didn't stay in the neighborhood with the parolees, but we just never know who is living among us, do we?

Sandy - Ah, the Dustbowl look. It's turning into John Steinbeck's America again, isn't it?

David - Many thanks. I hope it all gets sorted out, too.

Peace - D

Daryl said...

Doris, you did the right thing ...absolutely!


Lavinia said...

Dreadful. Just dreadful. Have you spoken to your neighbours about this? Perhaps if a group of you got together and made a point of all walking down to the very area where these youths are hanging out, and standing there in a group (you adults) with your dogs, chatting and passing the time,...and you did this faithfully every night.... I bet the young people would not want all those eyes and ears around, and would move on. It might work. Other than that, keep calling the authorities. They are paid to keep the area secure. Maybe some bright lights would also discourage the youth from hanging around.

My area has its share of ne'er do wells.....we recently got a shady character hoofed out of a nearby buidling where he was dealing drugs, stealing bikes and God only knows what else. He was finally evicted. As a 'farewell' he stole the refrigerator from his apartment unit!

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

One night near the birdbath I saw two youths hanging around and I didn't get a good feeling from them. I made a point of mentioning to them that there was an army of volunteers keeping an eye on the garden and the birdbath due to some recent vandalism and I went on and on until they suddenly cut me off and said they had to go. I had to smile. Rambling scoldy-toned middle aged lady? They'll run a mile to get away from that! LOL...:)

Jay said...

It's a difficult problem, isn't it? Kids often have nowhere to go, but you really don't want them hanging around private property, especially if their motives are not entirely honourable. We had a problem here in the village with kids meeting up at a particular spot and yes, there was a certain amount of dealing going on. So sad.

I hope you manage to resolve this one.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Good on you for doing something about it. You should not have to live in fear. I am will all your commentators, call the cops each time you see this guy or his friends. And keep us updated.