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Old April 12, 2006, 11:29 AM   #1
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Bad neighborhood advice

I keep hearing opinions from tfl members that basically have this opinion:
"If your neighborhood is that bad, LEAVE. Just pack up and move away to a safer town."

I would like to ask some of you here something: Are bad neighborhood fixable? After having a son and looking around, I'm not sure I like how the hood's been going. Once bars start popping up on doors and windows, is it possible to come back? I'm sorry for seeming naive and wishful, but I'm tired of people just ceding territory to bad elements. I'd like to know what any of you think can be done to 'clean up' a community or a neighborhood. I don't know if I'm willing to go around knocking trying to create a neighborhood watch but I'm tired of waiting for the hood to degrade further into **** while everyone else only wants the hell outta dodge.

So short of trying to keep an eye out, can anything be done to help bring a neighborhood back from the ghetto? (besides destroying ALL tv's in town, which I'm convinced might do it)
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Old April 12, 2006, 11:38 AM   #2
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It's called gentrification. Hang in there!
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Old April 12, 2006, 12:17 PM   #3
Capt. Charlie
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Are bad neighborhood fixable?
My answer is a firm yes, IF the majority in your neighborhood are willing to get involved.

The biggest enemy is apathy. People today don't want to get involved, and that almost always leads to the downhill slide.

Neighborhood watch programs, when done right, work. Bad guys won't stand up to people united against them, but the toughest part of getting started is finding an organizer, a born leader. Hold a meeting, get people involved, and form a Plan. Contact the LE agency responsible for your area for help and training. Most agencies have a program in place for this.

But it doesn't stop there. Bad guys look for areas that appear as though you don't care. Encourage and even pressure neighbors to clean up their property. Clean up litter, and see that lawns are cut and high weeds are cut in vacant lots. Pressure your local government to ensure that there's adequate lighting, and that trees that block streetlights are trimmed. Also pressure city council to come down hard on slum lords, so that their property is either maintained, or torn down.

Obviously, there is some risk, especially early on. But no good thing comes without sacrifice. If you're going to be the one to lead this venture, understand that, and be ready. Up your own defensive training and fortify your home. When others see that you're not only willing, but able to fight, most will fall in behind you.

It can be done, but it's going to take courage, determination, and leadership. It really is a war of sorts, and you can only win it if you and your neighbors stand united.
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Old April 12, 2006, 12:20 PM   #4
James K
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I freely admit I have never been in that position, but I am aware of folks who have. Is it possible to turn the neighborhood around? Yes, but it takes a lot of guts and commitment that most folks and the authorities don't have.

You do need to do door knocking. You do need to seek help from the police. You do need to work with community groups and church groups. Get help from the press. Money (e.g. grant money) helps, but community attitude helps more. But if the neighborhood is black and you are white, you won't be trusted no matter what you do. You will be seen as that "interfering whitey ****" and people will not even talk to you. Even people who are just as concerned as you are, and just as honest, will avoid you like the plague to avoid getting caught in the crossfire.

And I mean that literally. When you become a danger to the bad guys, they strike back. More than one neighborhood reformer has been killed, including and 80-year old woman in D.C. The police will play at patrolling the area for a while, as long as press attention is on it, but will go away as soon as some "big crime" happens elsewhere. A cop's attention span is just as long as the publicity light is on and no longer. And this assumes the police and politicians are honest; if they are not, it may be a police bullet you find in your head some night. (Cops and city "leaders" who are on the take get very p***ed off when you try to attack their real source of income!)

Jim K
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Old April 12, 2006, 12:48 PM   #5
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It's called gentrification. Hang in there!
Yes, although the result is that the good people living in the neighborhood usually get priced out of living there.

I remember some time ago in New York (don't remember the neighborhood), a drug dealer set up shop on the corner. The people on the block confronted him, and told him he couldn't sell there. He continued, and his body was eventually found in a dumpster. No drugs were sold on that corner again.
My grandmother was born in 1911.
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Old April 12, 2006, 12:52 PM   #6
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If your neighborhood was pretty good before and the trash has just started moving in, then I believe there is a fix. If you are in a bad area and want to turn it around, I'd say better to pack up and leave. The neighbors you are trying to rally may be the thugs you are trying to oust.

The saddest thing I see going on is people just minding their own business. Many neighborhoods are disappearing and being replaced with strangers living in a close proximity. How many of you guys can say that you know who your neighbors are? I admit to only knowing the neighbors that live only one or two houses away. People just want to mind their own business and live their own lives. This is when people see things happen but can't be bothered to do something or don't want to get involved. I think when people start getting to know their neighbors and spending time around the neighborhood, the thugs will find places that afford them more privacy to do their dirty deeds.
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Old April 12, 2006, 01:02 PM   #7
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As others have said the problem can be turned around. It will not happen without the majority of your neighbors getting on board and getting involved. If that happens then there are tools available to help. The police (obviously), and your city code enforcement unit. Code enforcement is a very useful tool to clean up the appearance of the neighborhood. They can address uncut yards and lots, unsafe homes, junker cars in yards and put pressure on landlords who won't maintain their rental houses. Some on this board may belly ache that this is "big brother". They don't have to live there, you do. These measures can do a lot to improve the quality of life. In all probability your city agencies won't step in unless you can show a desire on the part community to change things. If you can show up at a city council meeting with 20-30 people (or more) they will listen.
All that is neccessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
Edmund Burke
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Old April 12, 2006, 01:37 PM   #8
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Having a son changes things for me. I would move before taking on the danger, for my child's sake. If I was childless or my children were grown....different ballgame.
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Old April 12, 2006, 08:14 PM   #9
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I've seen neighboorhoods destroyed by letting welfare people in. Neighborhoods can be destroyed if gov'ts don't do anything about drug dealers etc coming in.
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Old April 12, 2006, 08:36 PM   #10
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I live in a quiet suburban community. My wife grew up on the same street we now live on. A few years ago some lowlife types opened up a crack-house/bordello. There were people in an out at all hours of the day and night. As the criminal element grew more numerous and bold, people on my street began documenting license plates, vehicle descriptions, and individual descriptions. This went on for several months before they presented the information to the local PD. Undercover officers quickly infiltrated the area and there was a raid on the place that netted more than 50 low-lifes. The place was re-opened (presumably under new management) a few months later but lasted less than a week before it was again raided and large numbers of arrests made. It has been at least two years and there have been no attempts to revive criminal endeavors there. There are a couple of street gangs trying to exert their presence in the area but they have largely steered clear of this particular neighborhood.
It CAN be done. It just takes concerted effort.
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Old April 12, 2006, 09:50 PM   #11
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I have never lived in anything close to what you are describing;so don't value my opinion that much. But, I think it is possible; but depends a lot upon the type of neighbors and the type of BG's.

If you have a bunch of applied, dedicated, hopefully armed neighbors; it'll be easier.

It'll be harder if you have to deal with real time gangs, like MS13 or something instead of just the local punks who think they are tough.
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Old April 13, 2006, 07:21 AM   #12
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It can be done. In addition to what Capt. told you ,pay your local District Attorney a visit. Working hand in hand with the neighborhood ,and local LE agency we have cleaned up two in my jurisdiction. If the DA and LEO's know there are people in there that don't want to live like that ,they will assist you. Good Luck. Regards 18DAI.
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Old April 13, 2006, 05:09 PM   #13
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Unfortunately, one of the gangs that have recently entered my city is MS13. So far they have not found any compelling reason to venture into my community, a fact for which I am grateful. The Cripps not withstanding, the punks in my area are mostly kids who wish they were tough. KPG, Brown Pride, and Latin Pride. I genuinely hope it will not become necessary to deal with more serious packs of predators.
"Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."
--George Washington
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Old April 14, 2006, 01:41 PM   #14
Big Calhoun
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Having come from one of 'those' nieghborhoods, I'll just say that a 'hood is what its habitants make it. There is an overwhelming amount of issues that can affect the quality of life in any given nieghborhood.

Consider this, I once lived not too far away from a set of high-rise projects. People in the surronding community were upset at the drugs and violence and the county eventually demolished the high-rises and put in luxury town homes. Well, new problem...all the people they moved out (most on public assistance) were displaced from transportation and jobs...essentially it made a bad situation worse. So a compromise was reached, old residents were allowed to enter a lotto and application process to get a new luxury townhome that would still be partially subsidized by the county. Well, those allowed back in were basically the ones who may have been on public assistance (welfare) but weren't trouble makers. They were hard working people that hit rough times. A good number of those folks live side-by-side with wealthy executives and the well-to-do, but the same problems that existed didn't follow. You give someone something worthy of having pride in, people will take care of it.

Contrast that with 'gentrified' neighboorhoods where old homes were destroyed, people pushed out, and the well to do moved in. I could take you to communities of multi-million dollar homes where some of it's citizens have been posted for running prostitution rings, selling drugs, child -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED-, etc. So gentrification is NOT the answer.

From my experiences, the best thing you can do is get to know your nieghbors, let them get to know you, and devise a plan to work together. White, black, yellow, purple...most of us have the same goals...we want a home and something to take pride in and we want a peaceful place to live. But the more you try to ostracize those that you 'feel' don't share the same beliefs, the more you're actually enabling the behavior that causes this BS in the first place.
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Old April 14, 2006, 02:43 PM   #15
Join Date: March 31, 2006
Location: Massachusetts
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In some cases, contacting local landlords or property owners can be a great place to start. Speaking as a property manager that works in one of "those" neighborhoods, there is alot at stake for us as well. A declining neighborhood means that property value as well as rents will decrease. Alongside that, we end up renting to more shady characters cause some of the better folks will want to move away. Then we end up with late night calls, broken doors and windows, adding bars, etc. (let your imagination run wild, I've seen lots.) All these things add up quickly.

Often times we have vacant apartments that we will offer to the local police department for undercover work, surveillance, etc. I suggest looking for a local housing authority (section 8, HAP, etc.) and asking someone there if they know of any landlord associations or organizations in the area. If you can get a couple medium to bigtime landlords on your side and promote the neighborhood watch program to their tenants and neighbors you could surely rally a formidable team. There's always a couple tenants in each building that have great eyes for detail and would love nothing more than to make a difference. Of course police support would be essential, but I'm sure that would be easy to arrange as well.

If you have trouble getting a landlord on your side, just watch the newspaper for your opportunity. Once something happens at or very near one of their locations, they'll be eager to jump onboard. Good luck!
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Old April 14, 2006, 02:49 PM   #16
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It most certainly can be done.

It can only be done once the residents realize that it is directly their responsibility to ensure that the criminal element understands that they are not welcome, and that they will encounter strong resistance...whether it is passive or active resistance. The residents must also understand that police can only do so much, and the residents must empower the police and prosecutors by acting as reporters and recorders of all the activity. Also, when Aldermen, Representatives, City Councilpersons…etc…begin to feel pressure they will place that pressure elsewhere.

In my city, the neighborhood concerns and complaints led to a dedicated patrol which sat static on the house in question. Now, that didn’t solve the problem, but it let the residents know that they were being heard. It also let the drug dealers know that we knew what was going on, and that we were watching them.

Check your state laws for laws which will assist as well.
In Missouri, there is a State Statute which translates into....
If a structure is known and proved to be a place where illegal drugs are peddled, the courts may order that the structure be uninhabited for up to one year.

Here's a quote from Missouri RSMO 195.130
"If the court finds that the owner of the room, building, structure or inhabitable structure knew that the premises were being used for the illegal use, keeping or selling of controlled substances, the court may order that the premises shall not be occupied or used for such period as the court may determine, not to exceed one year."
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Old April 15, 2006, 03:01 PM   #17
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Is anybody considering the suburban ghetto?

Most of the dangerous kids Ive come in contact with, are rich, white, burbanites, trying to be hard! Id say theres as many drug dealers living in Orange County, as in Detroit! Rich kids are ransacking thier over medicated parents, med cabinets. The hood is everywhere! Economic status, and race have NOTHING to do with neighborhood crime! If you think your safe, think again!
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