Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Securing The Neighborhood, Progress Report
(Unsecured second story windows, I've called it in to the real estate company and 311, but I didn't bother to collect the reference number...this was one of my early calls)
While waiting for my house buyer to call or show up or something, I ventured south from the block I'm trying to secure to find more issues and call these in to 311.
* 2910 4th St. N., a duplex, the front door of the upper level of the duplex is unsecured, can't be locked, and the building is wide open to trespass but currently shows no signs of recent squatter activity. 311 Reference No. 167887. Busted glass at this house, 311 Reference No. 167891.
* 401 30th Ave. N. The house was secure, but the garage had been kicked in. I had nailed up some boards and only had one nail with me, but I made it count by nailing the hasp back in place and securing the garage door. It's not highly secure, but it's superior to being wide open. I'll have to go back with some boards and nail it better or call it in to 311.
* 3019 6th St. N., the house is secure but the garage door has been kicked in, and the garage (with all kinds of stuff inside) is wide open to trespass. I didn't have any means of securing it right then, so I called it in to 311, but I'll actually make an attempt to secure it, later. 311 Reference No. 167955.
* 430 30th Ave. N. RIGHT NEXT DOOR, ARG. Two windows missing off the porch-like "utility room." I found a board elsewhere (too thin, but all I could find) and I nailed it over one window, and I found the board which had been pried off the other window, so I put that in place, as well, but I couldn't get it as well secured as I would like.
I ran out of board material and didn't have any handy. Two boards missing over the back windows to the garage, with an inoperable vehicle, bike, tools and so forth visible inside. I called this in to 311, Reference No. 167870.
I met another one of my neighbors...Scott, who lives right next to Peter and Joy. (Peter is the Vice President of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association)
Scott charged up my cell phone so I could make some 311 calls, and then later gave me HALF A MEDIUM PIZZA which I ate while we sat on the step. I told him what I knew of the building projects happening, and he told me what he knew of drug activity and prostitution visible from his front porch nightly, daily, or (sometimes) almost hourly.
We sat and watched what appeared to be three drug deals go down. A young, pretty woman in a car with Wisconsin plates, and two older women crack heads, both buying the exact same shit.
Scott told me of his own struggles with addiction and how long he had been clean and sober. He has a room mate and "best friend" who is also named Scott, and a third room mate, female, whose name I didn't catch who has a baby.
Scott makes good money finding sales leads for contractors. His house, what I saw of it, is clean and nice. He has a black and white cat named "Mister." No other name, just "Mister." People get into the house next door to smoke weed, he says, but he makes reports and the city boards it up, by and by.
I asked Scott if he knew about the 311 system. He didn't. I told him how convenient it was, how the report gets in the system and goes to the right place, apparently. As we sat there, a john in a very nice and new red pickup truck (white male, early 50s) dropped off a young black female prostitute. (Late 20s)
I could have gotten the license plate number, easily. Maybe I'll get around to this.
Tactically, I think it would be better to secure all the houses and try to drive off the individual prostitutes when they are standing on the corners by themselves, before engaging in more confrontational tactics of writing down and publishing the license plates of the (suspected) johns and drug buyers, which could get ugly.
But the problem is...it is the presence of the johns and dealers which leads to the boards getting ripped off, to access the empty houses for "dates" and drug use. So it's a holistic problem, and one can't just say, "I'll work on the boards but not mess around very much with discouraging drug dealers and prostitutes." Because one is begetting the other and the whole thing needs to be tackled at once.