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Crime Trends in Our Neighborhood

694 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  snoopy5386
Hey, Mamas (and Papas, if you're out there, too),

I need some perspective and advice on some current trends in our relatively quiet neighborhood. This is long...sorry.

We live in a diverse community in a more suburban section of a large city. I love our neighborhood. We have mature trees, kind neighbors, easy access to just about anything... We love our home. It's humble, but has plenty of character. We have a big back yard for our giant dog, and we are within walking distance of an excellent bike/walking path.

Over the past couple of years, we've seen some petty/small scale crime in the area:
*Items disappearing from open and unattended garages.
*My DH caught a guy in our garage, going through his tools last summer.
*A few houses have been burglarized when no one was home during the day. (No one was hurt, and I think they were there for electronics, mostly.)

To me, these are pretty common problems in any setting- nothing that would make me worry about our safety. We have a neighborhood crime watch, and we get an e-mail if something as small as a suspicious vehicle is spotted in the area. However, since last summer, it seems things have been escalating. In the fall, a police officer who lives a couple of blocks over caught several people driving slowly through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, trying to get in houses. It turns out, they all had warrants for gang-related activity and were all arrested.

ETA: I left out another event. In October or November, two girls were robbed by guys carrying shotguns on the south side of our neighborhood. They were forced into a back bedroom while the house was robbed. This was the first known armed robbery in recent years. (The women were not harmed, physically.)

Last Sunday morning (11 a.m.), two men were murdered at home about 3 blocks from our house. It turns out, the victims and the assailant were all members of the Latin Kings street gang. We didn't hear anything from the neighborhood watch about it. I had to hear about it on the Monday morning news.

That same Monday morning (6:45), a car was seen driving suspiciously and pulled into our elderly neighbor's driveway (across the street from our house). Another neighbor, leaving for work, spotted the car and pulled up to the mail box. The suspicious vehicle quickly backed out of the driveway and took off. It turns out, the car was stolen. Who knows what they were going to do??

I'm starting to freak out a little- okay a lot. My DH says that most of the crimes are probably due to people the victims know (even the burglaries). While it's true that we have no gang affiliation, I can't help but feel threatened in what used to be a safe, quiet neighborhood.

Here's where I need help. Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing in their own neighborhoods? If so, were they isolated incidents, or were they a sign of escalating crime?

I'm ready to put our house on the market and move. We won't get nearly what my DH paid for the home in 2005, but we are not underwater on our mortgage. That's if we can even sell the house in this market. Our original plan was to stay put a couple more years (until DC #2 is on the way, hopefully). Then, we were hoping the market would be better, and we could benefit from the added equity in the home.

I've changed my mind about staying put, but DH is unwilling to budge. I'm afraid we're going to have to be victims, personally, before he will consider moving. Then, it's too late.

Am I overreacting? Would you be anxious for your family's safety, too? What would you do if you couldn't move elsewhere? How do you protect your family?
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That's hard. We've got a similar (though no murders) situation in our neighborhood. Someone has snapped up 4 houses at the end of our block and rents them to section 8 recipients, and one family the father is a registered sex offender (we've reported him since he's living with 5 kids) who has no driver's license, but drives all the time high and drunk, and we've got another family right across the street, the dad just beat the mom almost to death a week or so ago, and then another one right next to the others that deals meth. I have a friend that lives directly across the street, and she sees 4 houses of adults get together and have cars coming and leaving seconds later all through the day and night.

She's been keeping a log and calling the cops, but the cops said their hands are tied because the landlord is getting kickbacks from the tenants (drugs) and is basically a slumlord. They are investigating and trying, but like anything else how much man power can they devote to it?

It makes me livid because I know families that need housing and are in line for section 8, and yet here are criminals beating their wives, sexually abusing kids and doing/selling meth right here getting their rent paid by taxpayers- and they aren't even holding the homeowners accountable. I own my home and I'm not moving. I've contacted the police and they just say they are aware of the situation and are trying to get the landlord busted.

I'm going to keep fighting it underground and make it very known that drugs and crime aren't welcome in this neighborhood. We don't have gang activity though- that would straight out scare me. Gangsters are heartless and don't care about human life.

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I don't think you're going to get away from crimes like what you're describing, especially in the current economy.

We live in a neighborhood/suburb with homes that were going for 600-700K at the height of the housing bubble (we didn't purchase at the height). There are a couple of towns within ten miles of us that have gang problems; we have had fall-out from that at recent times in our neighborhood, and especially in the neighborhood next to ours (same town, a little less expensive neighborhood). Including murders.

Usually the murders put the cops on high alert, and crime rate goes back down. We've experienced trends like this in two different suburbs in the past decade--uptick in various petty crimes until a few major crimes, then cops crack down hard.
I'm surprised to hear that we couldn't get away from crime, no matter where we are. I grew up in coastal New England, and never even heard of anyone being robbed- not that it didn't happen, but it certainly wasn't prevalent like it is here. In fact, when I do the registered sex offender database search, there are a million dots in Indy, and maybe one or two in all of the county where I grew up.

I really do believe there are safer places to live. The question is, do we move now or do we wait it out to see if the crime drops? Or am I overreacting? Maybe DH is right, and since we don't mix with the kind of people who would rob/kill you, we're safe...
We're seeing similar things in our neighborhood. Up until about a year ago, things were peaceful and friendly. Recently we had a few break-ins, smashed mailboxes, and car prowls.

I really do think it must be the economy. A couple houses around are in foreclosure, and I think in some other cases the owners have moved out, but unable to sell their underwater house, are renting the house.

I really think the best thing to do is get a dog. But DH is very opposed to having a dog. Offenders will usually pass up a house with a dog in favor of one without.

So until I can change his mind, I've installed alarms on the doors and windows. I also lock the doors, something I never used to do. Both DH and I go for walks in the early evening and are trying to notice unsual cars, new neighbors, that sort of thing. We are underwater on our house and can't really move unless we want to go back to renting.
Unfortunately I'd agree that it's most likely a reflection of the economy, and less likely a reflection of specifically degrading conditions in your neighborhood. If anything, if you do live in a "nice" neighborhood, it's a function of people coming there to try to get the "nice" stuff when they commit their crime.

I'm saying this as someone who's always lived in large metropolitan areas, and believes that it's always going to be your own responsibility to be cautious and aware. Our workshop was burgled on New Year's Eve a year ago...all my husband's tools taken. And my bike was stolen out of my back yard. Not grounds for moving. Just grounds for getting a better lock and being more careful where I leave my bike.
we've had nothing like that in our area - so I wouldn't say it is just the economy....the little stuff wouldn't bother me as much, but the home invasion/robbery and the murder/gang activity would have me super freaked out. If your DH won't move you bet your butt I'd be getting an alarm system and a large dog.
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