Monday, July 21, 2008

Feeling Safe

Anytime you head out of town and come back, it takes awhile to catch up with things. Though I did want to type out something before I left, I just got too busy.
Thursday, the day I was supposed to head out with the time challenged family members, I ran into a FOX5 reporter and his handy dandy camera man. I had walked up to them to ask what horrid thing had happened now. He was asking residents about the shotspotter. I'll sum up what I said, 'let's wait and see' if it actually helps with crime. We've noticed how crime has adjusted to the cameras. After walking away, I thought a bit more about safety. The shotspotter coupled with the camera don't make me feel any safer. They are good to have and deal with certain trouble spots in the neighborhood.
I've told folks before that I'm more worried and more likely to get hit with a car (SUV probably) than shot. Shootings are a concern, but various risk factors and what I encounter day to day that erode or bolster my sense of safety place other things higher on the list. Those other things don't always result in death, but they sure shatter your sense of safety. Getting hit by a moving vehicle tops the list, followed by break ins. Sadly, in the second year Square 507 (block w/ Richardson Pl)has experienced another rash of break ins. One house (from what I can understand) was broken into for the second time. The owner moved out, I gather as a result, more from the 1st, the 2nd probably just reaffirmed the moving. At the civic meeting the Police point towards declining crime figures. However, that isn't any comfort when you're a victim.
The other non-fatal thing that brings down my sense of feeling safe, are assaults. I've seen a man go after another man with a knife. A man attack some other men with a 2x4. Had neighbors attacked by 'kids' with rock throwing, a beat down, and a bad dog. And just yesterday, as I was weeding my tree box, a man, who may have been drunk or high began pestering me. What began as just annoying turned into threatening. Luckily nothing physical happened and the man kept walking while threatening and verbally assaulting me. I really don't see how that can be solved with the shot-spotter.
Despite all that I feel safer than I did when I moved here. There are fewer vacant houses on the block and more people around. There were at least two people I could have cried out to, who I knew were just feet away. There are fewer 'characters' roaming up and down the streets. There are more concerned and involved people. I hear fewer gun shots. As I walk around the neighborhood on my way to the metro, or to the store, over to a friends house, I don't feel as stressed or as wary as long ago.

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At 7/21/2008 4:54 PM, Blogger The Shaw Garden said...

last week my boyfriend left our front door open all night. It made me feel like maybe we live in a safe place since the worst thing that happened was my cats played on the front porch.

At 7/21/2008 5:42 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

I lived on 12th for three years (2004-2007) and even then it seemed to be getting safer as time went on. More foot traffic, people at the Metro, etc.

I write for New Columbia Heights, we should trade links!

At 7/22/2008 9:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe traffic will slow down on florida avenue as the Truxton area is redeveloped. removing the westside Exxon station and the closure of the KFC is helping.

At 7/22/2008 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh that was rr446

At 7/22/2008 11:12 AM, Blogger Mari said...

RR446 -thanks for IDing. I just had to remove an anon comment.

Please people ID yourselves and follow my comment policy.

At 7/23/2008 10:13 AM, Blogger si said...

This is one of those yes and no things. The weird thing about Shaw is that while crime is down (as the police tell us EVERY time we see them) the gunfire is waaaay up in the past few years. we dont even know how much because they were not reporting all of it until late last year! So we are in a situation where the hood is relatively safe except for the random flying bullets. right now we are in a lull so it doesnt seem like a big deal but the memory of gunshots just about every other day is fresh for me. Probably because I read too many blogs & listserves but perhaps it was the bullet in the front window 2 doors over from my house a few months ago. Or the bullethole in the vacant house around the corner I see every day. I feel safe, I am not afraid to walk around Shaw. But I am not surprised to walk around the corner and find the police there picking up shell casings. That time I was 1 block away from the gunfire, watering the plants outside and I heard NOTHING. Shotspotter isnt a magic fix. but it could help the police do their jobs better and I'm all for helping the police. It can tell the difference between firecrackers, a bad muffler & a gunshot. It can tell the officers exaclty where a gun was fired instead of them relying on me woken up at 2am half asleep & my neighbors calling 911 & telling them ummm I think it was 5th & M?? when it turns out it happened at 1st & N. Sound bounces off our buildings in weird ways. And as far as money, Shotspotter costs as much as a few of those useless cameras. How many of those do we have? 50? Have they ever caught a crime?

If this lull lasts indefinitely, I'll be massively happy. If we never have a reason to use Shotspotter, wonderful. But we dont know whats going to happen & recent history is not a good indicator for peace.


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