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