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To: Lurker
We actually have both a neighborhood association and a neighborhood watch group. The biggest problem that we face is getting the neighbors to give a damn--for the most part, folks only come to meetings if they are having a problem with a neighbor. Then, naturally, they want to know "what's going to be done about it right now?". It's very frustrating. Out of about 430 families, only a dozen of us are active in the 'hood all the time. We've been fortunate in that our precinct captain with the local LE is sympathetic to what we're going through and aggressive in prevention and solution, but we can't count on that forever. He's a young guy and he's only halfway up the ladder. Our next captain may not be so willing to work with us.

The single biggest problem we face are the uberlibs in our 'hood who do everything in their power to kibosh every proposal we make. We have one intersection which has been the root of most of our crime for as long as I've lived here. We wanted cameras at the corner; the libs, with the backing of the local media, raged that we were attempting to "profile" because the racial makeup of our 'hood is about 60/40, non-whites being the 60%. Funny thing is, all four properties at the problem crossing are owned by white folks, and they all wanted the cameras. For the past four years, we have been working our butts off trying to close access to the intersection from one critical direction--basically, we want to dead-end the street into a cul-de-sac. We tried it with temporary barricades for three months and the difference was remarkable. Arrests increased dramatically for the first few weeks and then incidents at the intersection stopped altogether. It was amazing. We got the city council behind us, all the planning boards, we got the police/fire departments to sign off on it, we got the money set aside in the budget to create the cul-de-sac. Out come the uberlibs. We're moving too fast, we haven't given this enough thought, we need more studies, we're going to balkanize the whole city...unbelievable. The folks who do the loudest yelling are the ones who head up to their Canadian cabins every weekend, who have never shown up at a neighborhood function, who hire illegals to tend their yards. Uberlibs. The slumlords are loving it.


18 posted on 08/26/2006 10:35:51 AM PDT by grellis (I don't know, let me ask my I Ching)
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To: grellis
We wanted cameras at the corner;

Here's how we avoided that issue entirely. We put X-10 Cameras up on our homes. That means they're on private property and the usual suspects can't say jack cheese about it.

For the record I have no affiliation with the folks at X-10 other than being a satisfied customer. I'm sure there are other brands of systems and you can find them if you google 'security cameras'.

It was an investment of a couple of hundred bucks and not everyone on the block could afford the higher end systems, but we've got over a dozen of these little cameras monitoring the public areas of our block. Mrs. L and I even paid extra for the low light versions. The neat thing is they have audio capabilities, too.

Yea, there was some whining about 'invading our privacy' and some accusations of racism but the PD told them that the cameras are on private property so no laws are being broken. They further explained, more than once, that public areas are just that; public. They have no expectations of privacy. If they want private, go inside.

We've also dealt with the 'right now folks. They're my second favorite. My favorites are the somebody folks. You know, the ones who say "It's about time somebody did something." My response has always been "Well you look like somebody to me." That usually shuts 'em up.

There's also no law against sitting in your yard or on your porch with a video or still camera. We do lots of that. There's nothing like the sight of 5 or 6 residents just enjoying a nice evening with a camera in their hands to cool the ardor of a young drug dealers heart. Once they realize they're being filmed they tend to practice their entrepreneurial skills elsewhere.

It really cuts down on the visits from the customer base, too. We put up some signs, once again on private property, notifying folks that suspicious vehicles were filmed and the footage sent to the PD, so they should purchase whatever product they were looking for elsewhere.

It's the old one-two punch.

Is it perfect? Nope. Is it ideal? Nope. Has it made a big difference in our area? You betcha. The gang graffiti has disappeared, petty crime has dropped a lot, we haven't heard a gunshot in the neighborhood in 3 years, and the quality of life for all the residents has gone up.

So try some of that. Start out small and I think you'll be surprised at how many folks just sort of join in once they see that mystical 'somebody' doing something.

Best of luck to you.


19 posted on 08/26/2006 3:01:48 PM PDT by Lurker (If you want peace, prepare for war.)
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