Sunday, June 1, 2008

A Crack Head Army In Disarray Attempts To Regroup

Above, Napoleon At Waterloo

The evictions at the (Former) Apartment Complex of Anarchy have caused interesting new patterns among the hookers and drug dealers on my block...

It appears the corner at 31st and 6th was a valuable piece of drug- and prostitution-dealing real estate, but with the apartment complex at 3101 6th Street evicted and evacuated, there really is no plausible excuse for anybody to be hanging near that notorious corner. Yet, since drugs have been dealt there for--what?--decades, the corner has a kind of "customer loyalty." The dealers are reluctant to give up the corner but can't stand there openly. What to do?

It's like I told Peter Teachout, "Think of it like a McDonalds. If a McDonalds closes, even months later customers will pull into the parking lot and say, 'What, they closed that place? I can't believe they closed it!'" And that's all lost revenue. So an opportunity presents itself to get another franchise in the corner as quickly as possible, or new fast food management at the old place, or sell some flowers in the parking lot, or SOMETHING.

An oft-frequented "commercial corner" is valuable real estate. You know it. I know it. And crack dealers know it.

So it is with the corner of 31st and 6th. A steady stream of valuable customers makes its way to the corner, looking for "the usual," but--shock! dismay! woe!--the Apartment Complex of Anarchy is no more, and no dealer is on the corner. In light of this upheaval in the social order of Crack-O-Topia, one sees a variety of responses.

Could we, like, maybe share?

Peter Teachout witnessed a drug dealer try to "share" the intersection of 30th and 6th, one block away. Long ago Peter noticed the tendency of different groups to occupy the different corners, but some kind of agreement or truce seemed to be in effect.

When this displaced dealer (a heavyset black man, quite possibly Khameron NMN Lake) tried to "share and share alike," the other dealer occupying the corner "barked at him" (according to Peter) and there was "some verbal back and forth." The displaced dealer ended up leaving the corner.

"I hope they don't fight and hurt each other," I said. Peter said I was "being sarcastic, again." I said I'd try to feel bad if the dealers fought over the other corner and hurt each other, but it would be a lot of effort to "dig deep for those feelings" and perhaps the effort would be too much.

Best not to attempt such emotional gymnastics. I might give myself a sprain.

Crack, crack, SOMEBODY around here must have CRACK!

I saw a couple of crack addicted prostitutes--a white girl with short brunette hair I call "Pink" because she always seems to be wearing the same pink tube top, and a tall, "super model thin" black woman with light brown skin--virtually going door to door, desperately seeking crack.

First they aggressively approached my car right at the intersection of 6th and 31st, obviously soliciting. After all, if I'm at that particular intersection I must have crack, right? Or maybe I'm a john who can provide money to buy CRACK.

I called the police right away about the solicitation. Different rules operate for my block, which is designated as a "drug crime" and "gun crime" area. You don't need to see a whole lot to know "Khameron NMN Lake is trying to deal on the corner, again" or "the prostitute known as Kathy is working the intersection, again" and call it in.

The prostitute duo meandered down the street to 3010 6th Street North, right next to my house, owned by the folks associated with landlord Phil Kleindl. (His workmen did a fine job trimming hedges the other day, including those which border my property) The prostitutes talked to the Mexican workman at 3010 6th Street North, but didn't appear to be getting any action, just being annoying.

They next wandered over to the pink house at the intersection of 30th and 6th, a place where tenants live quietly which has never, in my experience, been any kind of problem property. (In fact, I saw a gray bearded white guy, mid-50s, come out to see what was up when I was hammering some nails into 3001 6th, with permission of the real estate agent, so my impression was "Here is a responsible citizen checking what is up.")

The whores talked to the people sitting on the steps of the "pink house," but despite a mutual affinity for pinkness, they didn't appear to be getting anything. (And, of course, one must be polite to those who come and go frequently in the neighborhood, if they try to interact with you, so it's not uncommon for decent people to have brief conversations with dealers, whores and crack heads. In fact, I saw Peter Teachout talk to a known crack dealer about the virtues of scooping up poop behind a pit bull after the critter crapped on Peter's lawn)

I was trying to keep an eye on the two prostitutes from a few blocks away when the police called my cell phone. It was the officer in the squad car, wanting to know exactly what I had observed. I told the officer about the interactions I had witnessed. I mentioned how, ever since 3101 6th Street had been shut down, there were new patterns in the prostitution and drug dealing.

"They don't seem to know where to go to get crack," I explained. "They seem to be walking down the street, looking everywhere."

"Well," the officer said, "Right now they're digging in the trash in front of 2929 6th Street."

"Oh, are they?" I laughed. "Well, I'd just about be their advocate, in that regard. Anybody who takes some items from that pile would be doing the neighborhood a favor. But from what I saw in the last few minutes, those two girls are actively seeking crack or a john."

The officer thanked me for my info. I don't know what happened after that. It's like I told Jacob recently, as we filmed some of my block watch activity: It's not like vagina is an illegal substance. The cops are able to deal much more effectively with the drug dealers than the hookers.

An elaborate "corner utilization" strategy

It took me a while to figure out one of the more clever strategies the enemy used to realign its forces. I was parked a couple blocks away, observing through binoculars, figuring even if the (Former) Apartment Complex of Anarchy were shut down, I would still see come kind of activity on the corner.

Sure enough, I saw Kathy the Prostitute walking back and forth, not pausing on the corner but basically turning my part of 6th Street North into a "stroll." While observing this from a distance, I noticed a kid who kept darting back and forth in the alley, black and approximately 14- to 16-years-old, riding a kid's bike.

It was, of course, in the middle of a school day.

He was darting back and forth very consistently and purposefully. I did some checking to see what was going on in the alley. As I pulled near 3008 Lyndale Avenue North (the back of which faces that alley) I saw a guy in a long white t-shirt duck behind a van so I wouldn't see him. Too late. I saw him from the corner of my eye. I kept facing forward, though, like I hadn't noticed him.

So I kept watching for a while and I figured out what was going on: the dealing was taking place in the alley behind 3008 Lyndale Avenue North. The kid on the bike was continuously going to the corner, looking for customers he could lead into the alley. The dealers who "owned" the corner of 31st and 6th were still "using" the corner. Though the corner of 30th and 6th was only a short distance away, they weren't allowed to "use" that corner.

It was quite a pain to call this in. But it was easy to summarize: dealing was taking place near some vans parked behind 3008 Lyndale Avenue North. A young minor on a bike was trying to lead customers from the corner of 6th and 31st through the alley to the area behind 3008 Lyndale. Why? Because the customers were habituated to coming to the corner of 6th and 31st.

This observation fit very well with what somebody else in the neighborhood confirmed: dealing had shifted to the alley behind 3008 Lyndale Avenue North.

We're the "arrest pulleys."

However, cops have been making their presence quite known in the area. One young blond cop wearing a "Cabella's" shirt under his flak jacket pulled up behind my vehicle--I will always pull over if I see the cop watching my vehicle, to make it known what I'm up to--and spoke to me while Jake was on the passenger side with his video camera.

The cop said "We're the arrest pulleys" and said he was involved with "going in and making the arrests."

Knowing the "arrest pulleys" were keeping closer tabs, I took an opportunity to be with my son and go visit my relatives in rural Minnesota.

The army of crack heads is in disarray. But they are attempting to regroup.

The New Gang Attire: Long, Plain White Tees

Many of the dealers wear plain long white tees which are just about knee-length. This seems to be the new gang attire, a radical departure from the past which embraces a new simplicity of pure, snowy white. (Like cocaine)

And it makes sense. Who wants to get barred from Mall of America all the time for wearing "gang attire?" But at the moment it's hard to say "your long, plain white T-shirt is gang attire."

Well, I'm calling it. From what I've observed, the new look among certain gangs who are very involved in the sale of crack cocaine on the North Side is indeed the long, plain white t-shirt.

Also sees a lot of "spiders" and even "Spider Man" attire. Please note definitions two and three of "Spidey Sense" at (For the record, I was the contributor of definition No. 4)

A final trashy note

The pile of crap in front of 2929 6th Street disappeared. I'm glad somebody tried to get a salvage, first, even if the salvagers turned out to be a couple crack-addicted whores. Even a crack whore can be a more environmentally-conscious crack whore.


Chunkstyle said...

I took a drive through your area last week. Just as bad as most bad spots down here in the south side, and I'm pretty sure I went on a slow day. I definitely caught sight of your pink pony, its head wedged into an iron bannister.

I was driving along Nicollet Ave. , about 3:30 AM Friday, and saw what is a huge number of hookers, for this area. I saw at least 2 get picked up, by johns or their pimps, and 2 others, by the cops, which I had called. The cops talked to me, and said that because they were coming under pressure in other parts of the city, they were moving back to Nicollet. Sigh. That area was streetwalker central, back in the 80's and early 90's, and it looks like it's due for a comeback.

Johnny Northside said...

The trick is to keep the pressure on them everywhere, all the time. Thanks for jumping in and making that phone call, and for passing on this information. But if they're actually moving OUT of my part of the city, well, I have yet to see evidence of that! From what I see, there are actually MORE of them.