Well, I could never complain that I live in a boring place. I was given a ride home from work on Friday and as I was getting out of the car I noticed a group of 4 or 5 older teenage boys displaying various degrees of drunkenness. As one was about to throw up on front steps of a home there was a loud shout from a window: "not on my f-en steps you don't" … they moved on and I moved inside.
Only about half an hour later the manservant and I were enjoying an end-of-week drink out on our back deck. I watched a woman "squirrel" her way down the alley keeping close to the fences. I waited to see her come out past ours but she seemed to disappear.
Now … the row house next to us has been empty since the owner passed away around this time last year and the estate has been a little slack maintaining the property. They do not have an alley fence – just open "green space".
I looked down from our deck and I saw this person under next door's deck. They were pulling items from their clothing and a plastic bag while they sat on newspapers. I motioned the manservant over and we could see they were laying out various drug paraphernalia – syringe, water, lighter, little baggie.
At that stage the manservant called the police. The person became aware that we were no longer nonchalantly sipping wine and chatting about our day. They hastily gathered their things into a plastic bag and ran off down the alley.
When we moved in 2.5 years ago there was a "crack shack" across the alley from us and although we never had any "trouble" from it it is not the sort of venture you want to be living close to. It took a new owner and an overdose death in the shed before it was cleaned up and properly secured.
We do not want the next door row house to deteriorate into a similar situation.
The police arrived in about 20 minutes – given the amount of crime that happens around us – that was pretty good. One officer told us that once a place looks deserted, it does not take too long before addicts/dealers will break in and set up there. Under the deck is just the first step. He sees it all the time.
The manservant was able to give a very good description of the person fleeing and what they were wearing which was relayed to a beat cop we have. But the beat cop was already busy with an "very inebriated young Hispanic male" who was on his way to hospital with a good dose of alcoholic poisoning! (yes, one of that group I saw earlier).
On Saturday our neighbourhood was featured in the Washington Post's "Where we Live" section and was described as being "pleasantly walkable" (obviously the journalist did not come walking at night….). The journalist wrote:
"Park View is still a community of conflicting images. Welcoming front porches, spring blossoms and tree-lined streets clash visually with dilapidated properties, graffiti-tagged walls and sketchy alleys"
Yes – we have a little way to go but it starts by being aware of what's happening basically in our own back yard.
In the last few months a lot of these signs have been posted ….. the manservant and I are very careful not to stop and talk on a corner…. .