Friday, July 05, 2013

Expectations of Security

The spouse and I lived several years in Downtown LA. It's not the safest place, and we lived "Skid Row Adjacent" for most of the years we were there. When I was out and about doing the blogging thing I walked through several areas that you'd think wouldn't be safe at night. I was very lucky maybe or despite the perceived lack of safety. I was OK. I hardly ever worried about things happening to me. I was aware of my surroundings.

Inside our own building I didn't have to worry about the drug dealers or getting robbed or anything. We were high up (5th and 6th floors respectively) We lived in "secured buildings" (number code to get in) in the Old Bank District right on Main Street. Not a fancy place at all,(no amenities), rather a friendly but sketchy area of DTLA: very "Mayberry" -like, if Mayberry had homeless people, pan-handlers, and drug-dealers. Tom Gilmore, the owner/developer does have paid security outside the main building (where Pete's Cafe and Bar is located) but that's about it. LAPD is your friend otherwise (and they are in my experience anyway). Moving on..

We live in Emeryville now, literally on the Oakland/ Emeryville border ("On the edge of E-Ville" right?!) where all kinds of crazy stuff is going down literally a couple blocks away from us. The Oakland border as I may have mentioned, passes through our next door neighbors apartment despite our street address being Emeryville. I guess crime doesn't pay attention to street addresses..

We just found out my super nice neighbor a couple doors down from us got a gun pointed at her head in a very bold attempted armed robbery late last night through her barred window! She's got 2 big dogs (one of them a scary looking to strangers doberman) I don't know what the heck is wrong with people!!? Does no one have any boundaries?? A few of my neighbors have decorative bars on their small windows and she says it was this and her doberman that kept them at bay enough for her to get down and call the cops. E-ville cops rock! She says they responded pretty quick. I'm so grateful and glad she's OK! It could have ended very very badly.

This getting mugged from WITHIN YOUR OWN SPACE is BS! As renters you should have reasonable expectations of safety within your own place. I guess I should be glad our cats are frightened of the fireworks last night as we closed and locked our windows by 8PM or so.. Went to bed by Midnight & the fireworks (illegal ones of course) were still going off. We live very close to Market St. (we're incredibly close to the Oakland border) which is a hotzone of muggings and armed robberies. The 4th of July is usually a time of hooligans to be out and about setting off M-80s and possible car break-ins.. It seems like it's escalating and our area (and my neighbors!) of E-ville is suffering for it.

I can't help but wonder stupid things like "If only they hadn't taken out most of the ground cover between our windows and the sidewalk?" or maybe our area of the street needs better lighting?? I don't know if anything would have discouraged these jerks from trying something as crazy as pointing a gun through my neighbor's window... but having our lush landscaping ripped out and left bare doesn't help.

I think "reasonable expectation of safety" should include NOT having some jerk point a gun at you through your window demanding your laptop. We live in a low-key but fairly nice place and pay decent rent... Like where we lived in LA, it's not a fancy building, we don't have crazy amenities and we don't have alarm systems and MOST of us don't have bars on our windows (but that doesn't seem to help much in this case) I really don't know what one or anyone can do if bars and scary barking dogs don't keep people from attempting to kill you over your things. There should be something.. You should be safe within your own space!

It's so frustrating! I've lived many years in New Orleans.. where I can't imagine the crooks ever trying anything like that.. maybe they do these days? In DTLA it seemed like things happened to people who 'asked for it' IE: not paying attention to their surroundings, flashing money or expensive accessories (ipod/cellphone theft is pretty high).. stuff like that. A guy gets stabbed in DTLA it's because he was in the middle of a drug deal that went sideways. I'm not saying crime doesn't happen to people that are aware and doing the right thing.. but it seems like it's less likely.. and the veil of security and sanctity of home is mostly intact.

Here things happen to folks outside.. down by the bus stops on Market or more recently out on the sidewalk in front of our neighboring buildings. Here we have people trying to live and be aware despite what is going on within a block or so of their home, still being victims of crime. Sanctity of home? Expectations of Security?? I'm just not sure, but something needs to change.