Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Crack house in da 'hood, part 2.

The suspense! OK, here's the rest of the crack house story... I couldn't make you wait for the ending any longer.

When the crack head neighbors returned from jail, at first it seemed quiet. I was lulled into thinking things were better. My waiter neighbor said no, they were still dealing, but were quieter. He'd been sitting out on his porch and using binoculars to check out the action.

I found out some of the elderly neighbors, distracted by the pleas of strangers for rides and money, had actually decided to help them. Some of those elders realized they'd been duped, but said that they felt they had to help out of Christian charity. (Druggies will take advantage of anybody.) This made me feel so bad!

Finally, I started calling the cops a second time, and they actually did stake outs from near our house, watching the crack house action. I saw college boys, looking sheepish, knock on the door at 9 am. Honey, don't you know that crack house junkies sleep late? I saw an old woman with a golf club (no kidding!) banging on the walls of the house. I'm going to hope she was collecting pot for a friend with cancer, ok?

On the Friday before the 4th of July weekend, "Project Firecracker" happened. When I walked up the hill with Harry, I saw state troopers, local city police, county police, a K-9 unit, FBI and ATF officers. They arrested 9 people in that sting. Seven of them were arrested across the street from me. After the second arrest, they were evicted, according to city laws, from the apartment. I thanked the police personally while they shoved the last crack head into the car.

Another neighbor bought the crack house to clean up the neighborhood, and has been trying to renovate or sell it again ever since. For a while that summer, people kept coming by, trying to buy drugs. They'd bang on the windows and sit on the stoop, waiting for the dealers to come home. Luckily, the dealers never came back to that house, but it was a while before all the customers stopped soliciting near by and moved on. Sometimes I hear the construction noises while I'm working or when I walk by. I thank the construction workers. I've never been so grateful before to hear renovations taking place.

For those who haven't been around this sort of thing, crack, meth and heroin are scary drugs. These are the drugs that cause people to commit heinous crimes and do very frightening things. Once I knew what was going on across the street, I couldn't ignore it just because it quieted down a little. The bone rattling music and constant traffic were the least of the problems. Attempted break-ins, confrontations, solicitations for money, drugs and sex on my block, and taking advantage of and harrassing the elderly neighbors were just the tip of the iceberg.

As a result of the crack house, I was motivated to get a "scary" black guard dog, much like my first dog, Lucy. Sally really is a great addition to our family. Now, we can sleep again and the neighborhood is peaceful. Sometimes, I worry people will complain when my dogs bark at passersby. Sally is a great barker and looks fierce. However, I remember the crack house experience, and I let the dogs bark. Sally's vigilance makes me feel safe. Mostly, we lived happily ever after, after the police cleaned up our corner crack house. The End.


Blogger annmarie said...

May the 'happily ever after' truly be lasting. There's nothing like feeling safe and peaceful, not to mention rested.

December 16, 2006 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

Your're right -- I haven't been around that sort of thing, or at least not so I'd notice. I'm glad the story has a happy ending, and I can only imagine your relief when you lived through the final episode! An alert dog seems a very sensible precaution against so many things, as well as being good company.

This village feels very hard done by (and harasses the police incessantly) when there's an outbreak of vandalism, as there is every summer: there's absolutely nothing here for kids to do through those long summer evenings. Especially as all the older folk have been convinced by the Media that anyone aged 9-18 is planning theft and mayhem, so they act as though the kids are lepers. Gah. We're all human beings, we were all young once. In some ways I'm younger now than I was when I was younger :-)

December 17, 2006 at 7:24 AM  

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