Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Migratory Patterns Of Gang Members

We have had a bit of movement on our street this past month or so. One house just cleared out, with the landlord trucking most of the items away. However, the dumpster in behind that house is now sky high with garbage and car parts. I cannot say for sure if the front bumpers beside the dumpster came from inside that house, but I can say that they were placed beside the dumpster. This particular house was the same one that had gang signs decorating their windows in that artifical snow spray used for Christmas decorating. And it was the same location that we had commented earlier in the year that they looked like they had sideways guns, which would match their sideways hats. It may even be the same house where the police found guns a while back.
All I really know is that the landlord cleared out the house. So, the tenants have moved on. I do not know what street, or what neighbourhood they moved to, but they are no longer at that one particular house.
Another house that had constant attention from the Police was up for sale earlier in the year. The for sale sign is now down. I am not sure if the tenants have re-located, or if there will be a change in police attention at that location, but it is worth noting.
Another house, that seemed to have a lot of gang activity, is now vacant. It will be interesting to see the outcome of that house.
We have had a new owner move into a house which was previously a drug house. The house was purchased for a very low price, gutted, fixed up, and is now a welcome addition to the street.
The rooming house has seen a change in occupancy during the month. I am not sure if that is good news or bad, but time will tell.
The infill house, being built in our back lane, is just about ready for occupancy. That is exciting news for us. We know the landlord takes care of his houses. And he says he holds high standards for his tenants. I look forward to the house being occupied.
We still have several houses on the street with gang members or affiliations. But the street has improved just in the past 30 days. I hope those moving in to the now vacant houses will be better than the ones who left. It is up to the landlords now to find their new tenants. With any luck the landlords will exercise better discretion this time around.
People come and people go, gang and non-gang alike. As neighbours, we have little say in who moves onto our street, where they come from, or how long their criminal records may be. We know nothing about where they go when they leave. We just hope they are good neighbours while they are on our street.
I understand that we should not have control over where people live, and who is allowed to live in one area or another. That is not at all what I am saying. I would just like to know that the people living beside me, and sharing my street, are not dangerous criminals. Thats it.
All we, as neighbours can do to ensure our streets are safe is to wait and see. We hope for the best, and report the rest.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Garbage In The Lane

We have made it past the worst of winter, and are hopefully into the home stretch. The weather has been nice these past few days, and it has been a welcome change. I have found that I am not as keen to suit up and walk down my lane as often this winter as I have in the summer. But I do still go out. Every few days, I am back in the lane, looking for garbage out of place. I am still reporting bulky items left in the lanes, and dumpsters overflowing with trash. I walk down my lane, over to the next block and back up across the street. That is my usual route, and I try to patrol those lanes as often as I can.
A few weeks ago there were several dumpsters with overflowing garbage, including one with a bench seat from a van sticking out of it. The issues were reported and subsequently taken care of. And a couple of days ago, on my usual walk, I found a row of garbage spanning the full length of one lot. It consisted of some mattresses, a table, the outer shells of two dressers, a hot water tank, a few other odds and ends, and some sheets. In the middle of this line of garbage was an empty dumpster. I can only imagine what the dumpster looked like the previous day, before it was emptied and carefully put back in place.
As I looked at the huge pile of items lining the lane, I wondered about their origins. Were they trucked in? Or deposited by a landlord? Or maybe a tenant. Then I remembered I saw a moving truck in front of that house a week earlier. I had not been down that part of the lane since January 26, so I do not know exacty when the items were deposited. But I definitely reported them to 311 after finding them. They should be taken care of within the next few days. But I wonder what happened in that house. All I really know is what I see from the outside. I know a moving truck came, and I know there are items in the back lane. Anything else is up to the imagination.
It is really the same for each of the houses on my street. I only really know a small piece of the puzzle. Whether it is a smiling neighbour entering a house, or another yelling out the window, a piece of garbage in the lane, or a recycling box filled to the brim. Each bit of information is just a single piece in a larger puzzle. We all use our own imaginations to fill in the huge gaps of information missing in that larger puzzle, whether it is my one city block, the North End, our city, province or country.
I am just adding a few small pieces in that larger puzzle of my one city block in the North End.