Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Comments and Crime

Today I want to talk about a comment I received on yesterday's entry--3 Simple Ways To Reduce Crime

All blog comments are set to review so I can eliminate spam and, as I say right at the top of the blog page, mean-spirited comments. I actually get more of them than I do spam. My thought is, if you have something you want published in that vein, start your own blog. Of course, then the commenter would have to put it under his/her own name. Since the mean-spirited comments are always under an alias, I'm guessing that won't happen. I did get a 2nd comment yesterday that was truly mean-spirited. If you can't converse without sounding like a preteen, don't bother commenting. I won't lower the tone of the conversation here.

Yet, as I also say at the top of my page, I love reasonable, constructive comments. They can be as critical as can be as long as they're constructive criticism. Even so, sign your name to ANY comment, and I'm much more likely to publish it.

Anyway, here's yesterday comment. I'm addressing it because I think it points out what might be a common problem--neighbors we don't like.

"Getting to know the people living next to you won't work if they are the same ones trashing the neighborhood and encouraging their kids to do the same. " Signed by "corruption in the norristown."

Not sure what the comment has to do with corruption in THE norristown. But let's look at the words themselves.

A lot of us probably have, or have had, neighbors we don't like. In the house connected to mine, I've seen 3 families come and go in my lifetime. One the other side, 7 families/individuals have lived in that house. I've had some horrendous neighbors. One guy always yelled at me if some of the snow I was cleaning off my car strayed into his uncleaned parking spot, despite the fact that our family shoveled off our shared front steps. That was only one example of his obnoxiousness. It came back to bite him--he was a government worker and when he was up for promotion and a raise in security level, the FBI showed up at our door doing a background check. My mom was only too happy to say what she thought of him.

Still, even with the lousy neighbors, we always learned their names and got their phone numbers. Because if something happened--if, say, I saw part of their roof loosen in a wind storm, or a branch of their tree crack, calling them to tell them about it helped to protect MY property. If the tree or roof was taken care of immediately, there was less possibility of damage to my house or car.

Not sure what the commenter means by "trashing the neighborhood." Are we talking real trash? That can be reported to code enforcement. But since yesterday's blog was about crime, I have to think that's what the commenter means. What kind of crime? Vandalism? Other types? (Even so, I can't imagine an entire neighborhood--several blocks--being "trashed" and the police not hearing about it.)

Still, sometimes you KNOW something illegal's going on, but you can't prove it. A couple across the alley from me a while back bred dogs for dog fighting. The surrounding neighbors all suspected that the female dog was abused but we couldn't prove it. The neighbors on either side of the couple (whose names I knew) called the police out several times. Eventually the cops figured out what was going on and even broke up the dog fighting ring (unfortunately too late to save one of the dogs). But the arrest happened because we were all friendly enough on the block to compare notes. I should mention that none of the neighbors knew the couples' names because they were careful to avoid contact. Another red flag.

I was told by a cop a few years ago that the more the police are called out to house for anything--domestic arguments, etc.--the more they're likely to check that house for drug activity, because drug activity is likely to lead to assaults and other incidents. If you suspect your next door neighbors of being the instigators of crime, talk to your other neighbors about what they've seen or heard, and call the police if there are fights or frequent shouting (we do have a noise ordinance) or other incidents.

So, if you want to keep to yourself, with the excuse that you don't like your neighbors, fine. Raise the drawbridge, shut yourself up in your castle, don't talk to anyone. But if crime does come to your neighborhood, don't complain if you become a victim. Your good neighbors will be watching out for the neighbors they know and not you.


  1. When I moved to the neighborhood, there were people who cared and let you know about issues, and yes, I knew their names, but many have been moving to other towns because of the new people moving in and causing problems. Guns being fired off, women fighting with bleach, and noise all day and night along with dumping trash, trespassing problems have taken over this area. The police are called all the time, usually to the same houses, but they don’t seem to solve the problems as the same people do the same thing once the police presence is gone. We still have a few good neighbors and some of them refer to the new people and their kids as terrorists. You report them and they trash your place. One neighbor had her American flag pulled out of the flower pot and tossed on the ground. I went over there and put it back. Fences, both chains and chain link, don’t stop the kids standing on the chains until they are down on the ground and just climb over fences, who block traffic and dare the cars to hit them , who empty the grocery store flyers out on the sidewalks, etc. If the police would track the calls to the problem houses, they should and follow up with the owners about problem renters to make sure they stop their activities and move out, maybe we’d get better neighbors. So don’t assume that we just don’t like the people next door. I and others have introduces ourselves to people moving in, but in some cases, we find out that they don’t know how to be neighbors. By the way, the corruption name tag was from another post, so I’ll see what I can do to change it, although reading about a judge evicting a woman from a property that had the ceiling fall in sounds like corruption to me.

  2. Thanks for being specific. This is exactly what I mean about contributing to the conversation. Guns being fired and even throwing bleach on another person are serious crimes. In fact, the bleach could even be considered aggravated assault because intent to harm seems definite. All the other stuff is vandalism, also illegal. If these incidents happen that often, you and your neighbors need to call the cops every time. It goes on record, and when they have their Compstat meeting every 2 weeks, that neighborhood will be highlighted to watch more closely or take other action. Actually, from your description, I have an idea where you are.
    But leave your "corruption" tag--if they're renters and the landlords aren't being made to take action after all the trouble their tenants cause, it might bear looking into why. Post the number of the house (or somehow get it to me privately), and I'll look up who the landlord is. Besides, I'll be continuing the story of the house next door to mine sooner or later.

  3. 743, 744, 745, 750 and 753 Haws have had the problem with adults and kids, but the 744 dad did go after his kids one day when they were yelling and chasing some other kids. 750 and 753 kids and visitors are all over people's yards and some have thrown objects or kicked basketballs up on several people's porches. Some of my neighbors have had the pickets on their fences broken off, others have the metal stretched so the kid can climb in the yard, and one just took their posts and chains down as the kids bent the posts by standing on the chains. There was a community watch person that sent out a letter a while ago about people being responsible for their kids, so another one might help with the ones who don't know about being responsible.

  4. I held off on releasing this comment for a week until I'd checked out the neighborhood for myself. I drove through several times--different times of the night and day. Other than double-parked cars, I can't say I saw anything. No kids outside at all. Now, all of the above could be in back of the houses, and driving through isn't the same as living there. This isn't a landlord problem. More than one rented house is involved, and other rental houses on the street aren't listed. You only have 2 choices--talk to the parents yourselves or call the police. I know it's hard to call the police on juveniles, but destroying property is a crime. If you see it being done, take photos or a video. Not speaking up, or only speaking up on my blog where possibly no one will read it but me isn't going to solve your problem.