Feeling Safe

Anytime you head out of town and come back, it takes awhile to catch up with things. Though I did want to type out something before I left, I just got too busy.
Thursday, the day I was supposed to head out with the time challenged family members, I ran into a FOX5 reporter and his handy dandy camera man. I had walked up to them to ask what horrid thing had happened now. He was asking residents about the shotspotter. I’ll sum up what I said, ‘let’s wait and see’ if it actually helps with crime. We’ve noticed how crime has adjusted to the cameras. After walking away, I thought a bit more about safety. The shotspotter coupled with the camera don’t make me feel any safer. They are good to have and deal with certain trouble spots in the neighborhood.
I’ve told folks before that I’m more worried and more likely to get hit with a car (SUV probably) than shot. Shootings are a concern, but various risk factors and what I encounter day to day that erode or bolster my sense of safety place other things higher on the list. Those other things don’t always result in death, but they sure shatter your sense of safety. Getting hit by a moving vehicle tops the list, followed by break ins. Sadly, in the second year Square 507 (block w/ Richardson Pl)has experienced another rash of break ins. One house (from what I can understand) was broken into for the second time. The owner moved out, I gather as a result, more from the 1st, the 2nd probably just reaffirmed the moving. At the civic meeting the Police point towards declining crime figures. However, that isn’t any comfort when you’re a victim.
The other non-fatal thing that brings down my sense of feeling safe, are assaults. I’ve seen a man go after another man with a knife. A man attack some other men with a 2×4. Had neighbors attacked by ‘kids’ with rock throwing, a beat down, and a bad dog. And just yesterday, as I was weeding my tree box, a man, who may have been drunk or high began pestering me. What began as just annoying turned into threatening. Luckily nothing physical happened and the man kept walking while threatening and verbally assaulting me. I really don’t see how that can be solved with the shot-spotter.
Despite all that I feel safer than I did when I moved here. There are fewer vacant houses on the block and more people around. There were at least two people I could have cried out to, who I knew were just feet away. There are fewer ‘characters’ roaming up and down the streets. There are more concerned and involved people. I hear fewer gun shots. As I walk around the neighborhood on my way to the metro, or to the store, over to a friends house, I don’t feel as stressed or as wary as long ago.

Theory vs Practice

Vacant prop
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

Sorry for not posting for a while. My 93 year old grandma passed last week away so we were all busy with that. Anyway back to your regularly scheduled blogging…..
I think it was Kwame Brown, who threw out the suggestion at a BACA mtg that DC should take over distressed properties. And this morning on the radio some NoVA county governments are tossing around the idea of taking over foreclosures. May I suggest don’t do it. Well for DC don’t do it until you can clean up and move the properties you currently own, like schools (cough *Langston* cough) and residential buildings.
In theory government has the ability and power to make homes livable again. In practice, or at least what I’ve noticed around here, is that theory doesn’t work out as well as hoped. There are several properties that DC had, then transferred over to Manna, La Casa and other non-profits with experience in rehabs, that later became livable homes. There are also a bunch of properties that have remained painfully vacant and dilapidated for years if not decades in the hands of DC government or inept non-profits that DC land was transferred to.