…have relocated, cut back normal operating hours and have reduced staff.
I’ve noticed one crew of young men who regularly stand in a spot have relocated a small portion of their numbers to a secondary location. This spot has been the focus of some city attention (tree trimming, busts) and I have heard tell that after one shooting incident residents are calling the police more.
Over on my side of NJ Ave the numbers are down but not zero. I compare the situation to what it was like 7 years ago. Old timers compare the situation to what it was like 20 years ago or more. It’s like ghost stories at camp, but it’s standing around a stoop instead of sitting around a campfire. They tell tale of dealers all along the sidewalk, who were so brazen they had furniture set up and made it difficult for people who lived on the street to get back to their homes from work (or where ever). Anyway, we do have the guys hanging out but their movements and spots are not regular as in days past. They still have an outpost at the corner north of me, but there isn’t someone there at all times. They will split when the weather is bad (rain, hail, freezing temps) unlike the older days when they’d stick it out in the rain. They have opened a new branch at the corner south of me, however their hold on it seems unstable and it is not regularly staffed either. In between there is a house or two to visit, but the residents have to be home or else someone is going to call the cops.
The situation has changed in the past 7 years that make hanging out and possibly doing a few drug sales on the side harder. Not in order of importance or anything but for one, walkers and joggers. People are walking their dogs and their kids, sometimes both, at all hours. In the morning when I go to work, in the middle of the day (the work at home people), in the evening and at night. These are eyes on the street and snouts in the treeboxes. Apparently, I’ve been told, if neighbors regularly walk their dogs through the alley that cuts down on any dealings in the alley. Second, fewer vacant buildings. Vacant buildings made lovely spots to stash stuff, conduct business, whatever. Third, fewer customers. Gauging street traffic and foot traffic changes there is more noise than signal. Fewer crackheads walking around, more law-abiding residents, joggers, and dogs. I don’t know if gas prices* will cut down on the MD and VA customer base, maybe. Fourth, fewer recruits. Not just dealers but numbers of kids to be look outs, decoys, and fewer persons to provide cover and excuses.
Even with their dwindled numbers I don’t expect the boyz to disappear completely anytime soon. They may be able to bring in new dealers, but without a supporting infrastructure the enterprise might not be worth the effort and hassle.
*I’m gonna blame gas prices on everything from the cost of food to the frizzes in my hair.