Homelessness & Crime

Looking back at Jimbo‘s “Don’t feed the bears” post and all the comments, I’ll have to agree with him on some level. Just to clear up one thing, I don’t think all or most homeless panhandlers are the source of crime. However an environment where people just have cash money burning in their pockets to give away make an attractive environment for people who want to rob those people.
As mentioned in a previous post, my homeless policy is not to give away money. Food, tokens, and other objects, yes. Cash, no. Of course it helps that I don’t carry cash on me. I’m plastic. Cash and me have a problem. Cash constantly whispers to me and begs to be spent on stupid stuff. I have found that it is better for me not to have any cash on me for the sake of my bank account.
I have taken friends to task on giving to panhandlers. I sneer “white guilt”, because of the racial dynamic, the panhandler is usually black and my friend or associate is white. It disgusts me on a certain level. (channeling Malcom X) As a people we cannot be truly free and equal if we are begging the White Man for anything. Another racial/gender dynamic, I tend not to get bothered by the panhandlers for money. They know I, or possibly any other black woman (I can’t speak for men) won’t dig in our bag for them. I do get bothered for bus transfers by various types. Come to think of it, homeless women are more apt to approach me, but not men.
Ah, you heartless person you, you may think.
No. I give on a very regular basis to charities that actually help the homeless. I won’t go believing the lie some folks tell themselves that their measly $5 they give to the guy begging is gonna actually help. It doesn’t help. It doesn’t help them get off the streets. It doesn’t help them seek out the resources they need. It doesn’t help the less visible homeless who do work, or the homeless families, or the non-panhandling set of homeless. So out of my paycheck, a portion goes to support N Street Village and Bread for the City also I know a portion of my church tithes go to support Arlington, VA and DC homeless shelter and feeding efforts. I encourage you, yes, you. Yeah, you reading this blog. To regularly support your local homeless shelter. And don’t give my any lame-O excuses either, if you had $5 or more to give to the bum on the street you have $5 keep a shelter open or support a soup kitchen. Oh, but you just want to make someone happy? And you wanted the instant gratification of someone who seems worse off than you to say thank you for your $5? I sneer at you. This is me sneering. sneeeeeeer.
If you do give, I take back the sneer. Delete, delete, delete. G-d bless you.

Back to crime.
A heavy panhandling population, not to be confused with the plain old homeless that aren’t paying you no mind, seems to signal there is a money source. Tourists and suits who feel guilty, want that instant gratification of giving. Ummm. Yeah. People wandering around with cold hard cash in their pockets. People wandering around with cold hard cash in their pockets and unaware of their surroundings. People wandering around with cold hard cash in their pockets, unaware of their surroundings, at night/ when the area is deserted. Crime.

Lawnmower man

There are several lawnmower men to keep an eye out for in Shaw. Bicycle lawnmower man, wheelchair lawnmower man and regular lawnmower man. Bicycle lawnmower man drags his lawnmower behind his bike. Same as wheelchair lawnmower man, who has his mower attached to his wheelchair that he slowly wanders around in. And well regular lawnmower man needs no explanation.
Don’t use bicycle lawnmower man or at least don’t pay him in advance, as he failed to do a job one of my neighbors paid him to do.
I have used wheelchair lawnmower man, whose name is Jack. He doesn’t move fast and is easy to catch up with. I have decided to use him because he charged me $3 to cut may lawn. My lawn is horribily small. There are area rugs larger than my front yard. Others have come by and offered to cut my yard at $5. At that rate I could do it myself, by hand, with scissors. But Jack’s rate was hard to pass up.
Anyway he does a good job and I’d recommend him if you need someone to cut your small pitiful yard. He’ll bag up the clippings if you give him a garbage bag. So here I will reprint the flyer he gave to me:

I do Front and back yards- Jack is my name cutting grass is my game……
Called me and I will come by (Jack) Howard Jackson phone number (202) 329-3966
LOWEST PRICES IN TOWN “Alway” do a very good job

I left in the misspellings.

Flower Power Awards


There will be a reception that acknowledges those residents who were

nominated for an award during the Bates Area Civic Association’s


Power 2004″ beautification campaign. The reception will take place on

Thursday, September 2, 2004 at Ella’s Coffee and Fine Art, 1506 North

Capitol Street, N.W., from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

It was decided that we would not tax the very limited funds in the BACA

treasury to produce this event; hence, we have sought in-kind


that we will use as prizes for the honorees. Therefore, BACA members


attend are being asked for a $7.00 donation to help defray the costs of


refreshments for the evening.

To RSVP, please contact MaryAnn Wilmer at (202) 328-0389. Hope to see




Jim Berry


Recently I’ve been looking at my web stats for In Shaw and well I figure I should address some things:

A few people have subscribed to this blog and I am humbled that my rants would merit consideration. I looked at the other blogs In Shaw is grouped with and well, I don’t know if I fit. I’m not a radical. My politics can be described as moderate/ conservative. I’m straight. I’m in my mid 30s. Black. I don’t go clubbing. I am not cool. The In Shaw blog sorta reflects that, in that I’m against laws that would make it easier to get a liquor license, or anti-nightlife as some may say. I’m conflicted about the gentrification I write about, less crime good, people being displaced bad. I’m very conflicted about the rise in the Anglo population and the decrease of Black and Latino groups in Shaw as the sign of things “getting better”. Or as my Anglo friends have heard me mumble, “who are these white people and what are they doing in my neighborhood?” I’m not a Socialist, and although I sympathize with folks being pushed out because of gentrification, I do not believe in undermining a property owner’s right to sell his/her house at market rates, or rent their property at market rates. However, failure to maintain and secure property makes me less sympathetic to the owner and by all means the govt/community should be able to step in.
But those 20 or so of you who do read my blog I hope you do enjoy it and my snarky comments about my neighborhood. Feel free to comment or email me, or not, whatever makes you happy. And if you are a neighbor and I have made snarky judgemental comments about your house…. well that’s just my opinion. If YOU like your house, then it doen’t matter what I think. If I’ve bad mouthed you, then feel free to bad mouth me on your blog, then we’ll be even.

How to Gentrify a neighborhood: pt 2 1/2 the gentrifier

Warning: I’m writing this after 3 glasses of wine. I could be crazy.

In a followup to Gentrify yo hood:pt 1 this part briefy looks at the gentrifier.
First, money. Do you have it or don’t you. If you have money you might have choices, you could live in the “nicer” parts of the city, or you could buy bigger digs in the hood. Then there are the people like me, who don’t have a lot of money and the hood was the only affordable thing. So you move in and make the best of it. I didn’t move in to displace the poor. I moved into Shaw, because it was along the Green and Yellow lines (metro), close to a grocery store, decent for my car-less lifestyle, and oh I could afford it as a single person.
Second, tolerance level. The white bread population that loves the suburbs don’t cotton the city. Scared white people need not apply either. Scared [any other ethnic group] should keep to the ‘burbs as well. To be and urban pioneer and gentrify the city you need to put up with the crime, the trash, the bamas, the crackheads, the vacant houses, the whatever, until the day the neighborhood turns “nice”.
third, and last (cause I really need to go to bed), the gentrifier needs to be an object of change. This can range from the small and the really local aspect of investing in your home and inspiring others to do the same. Or harassing neighbors to be in compliance with the DC laws by calling the authorities constantly. Or it can range on the larger scale as to being involved in neighborhood wide revilization programs.

Good R-key-tex-ure

Ran round Shaw taking pictures for a project I will never finish (at this rate). As I snapped, or in the case of the mix of the digital cameras, pressed-waited-snapped I noticed some pretty cool buildings on the borders of Shaw. The image above is a firehouse, turned warehouse(?) on New York Avenue. I would have the whole image, but I forgot I left it on zoom. A little paint, new windows, total rehab, it would make a supercool loft. All the old firehouses would make supercool lofts. There is a firehouse, a block north of Shaw in Eckington on North Capitol, that is just begging for something to be redone. It did get a paint job, raising hopes that they’ll be more improvement, but alas, no.
Beyond firehouses there were homes with turrets and homes with built in porches (see below). Luckily there are some that remain open. I’m thinking of at least one house that barred the porch and it looks just horrid.

Let there be light/ New features

The trees I was complaining about yesterday. 90% gone. The other 10% of the tree fell into someone elses yard and is still hanging in the phone and cable wires out back.

Besides the tree being totally chopped down, and this was one huge mother of a tree, I noticed light. Wonderful, glorious light pouring down into the alley. It seemed sunnier. Warmer. At night, more light. This tree also was growing around the street light in the alley blocking the light so it was dark and dangerous looking down there.

I noticed the same thing when the city FINALLY, came around and trimmed the trees in the front. Light. It is still kinda dark in front of the house, but not as dark. Also another good thing, I could see further down the street from the upstairs window, the better to see things that need to be reported to the police.

Anywho with all this new light I might consider some sun loving varieties of plants for the back yard. Tomato. Salad greens. Maybe even fruit.

New Features

I added the e-mail feature so people, if they wanted to, could email the inshaw story to others. I also added the comment field. I don’t know how well that will work as I’m only allowing other Blogger.com bloggers to comment. If it doesn’t holla at me at in shaw (one word) at att dot net.

Section 8 rountable

Emmaus Services for Aging invites community members to:

A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of Section 8 Housing With speakers from Housing Counseling Services, MANNA Community Development Corporation and more…

When: TOMMORROW Saturday August 28th 2pm-4pm


1426 9TH STREET NW (near 9th & P Streets and Shaw or Mt. Vernon metro;

across street from Giant food store)

Why: Do you want to make sure that seniors who have struggled in our

neighborhoods during hard times are able to stay in their homes now?

Does the possibility of losing thousands of units of affordable housing

even as luxury condominiums seem to rise on every street corner scare


Do you think that the Section 8 program should expand, be made stronger?

For more info, contact Asantewaa Nkrumah-Ture, 202-745-1200,


Transportation provided free for Emmaus seniors, just call Mark Andersen

at 745-1200×15

Ye shall know them by their trail of trash

The thing I hate about some developers is that they don’t clean up. The ones I speak of are bipolar. They’ll work on a house/project at a manic pace and then a few weeks later leave the work exposed and half done and are not seen for weeks. The materials will be all over the yard, maybe overflowing into the alley. The house in question apparently started working on a tree. There are large downed tree branches EVERYWHERE! I’m not talking small branches, I’m talking tree parts as thick as a man’s head. Only good thing…. they may have knocked down the baskeball hoop the kids put up. They have yet to carry away their tree debris.

Well on a happy note about trash, there have been signs that are neighborhood is getting better. If you want really good trash you might have to scope the *better* neighborhoods, like Old Town Alexandria. But on two occassions I have found good trash right here in Shaw. A few months ago I scored a sweet end table made of solid wood. It just needed a new handle, $2 at Home Depot. Today, I found a bag of CDs and books that look like sale-able items on Ebay or Half.