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     I was a Blockwatch leader for several years in my Phoenix neighborhood.  I did it as a way to help the community which was experiencing an unusually high number of break ins.  As Blockwatch leader, I organized neighborhood meetings in which a police officer would attend.  The idea was to get everyone to look out for each other and learn more about the resources that were available to us from the Phoenix Police Department.  We did not participate in neighborhood patrols. I have since relinquished my duties, but the thing that sticks with me most from this experience is that my neighbors wanna shoot someone...

      As a new transplant from Maryland, my AZ neighbor offered me a great opportunity to meet the rest of our neighbors.  "Become the Blockwatch  leader,"  she suggested.  Wanting to everything I could to make a good impression, I took her up on this and submitted the needed paperwork, contacted the proper authorities and came up with a great name, Argus, named fro the mythological watchman with hundreds of eyes.  Research under my belt, I planned my first meeting.

       It was a huge success  which was well attended!  Not because I had refreshments, nice handouts, a neighbor contact list, fliers, and a Phoenix Police Officer coming to talk to us.  It was well attended because the week before, a house had been broken into and word spread.  Everyone came to either gossip or complain to the Officer about neighborhood break-ins.   But no one offered to help by getting our addresses painted in the alley or helping each other "burglar proof" their homes by trimming bushes or fix lighting.

       After realizing that no one came to the meetings before a burglary, I just decided to wait until we had one in the neighborhood to convene our next Blockwatch  meetings.  We ended up having about one meeting per year.  It was good way to get the scoop on recent nefarious activities, complain about speed bumps and, yes meet your neighbors.  After all, knowing your neighbors makes it more likely that you will look out for each other.  And knowing your neighbors helps you know who belongs and who doesn't.  One time, the cop who joined us for our meeting, arrived  in an unmarked car and commented that he was happy to see the suspicious looks he got cruising our neighborhood.  He was Hispanic.  It's one thing to be the quintessential nosy neighbor, but to make everyone who looks different than you feel out of place and watched gave me the heebie jeebies.  I might as well have lived in a gated community.   Although this incident made me cringe, I get an even worse feeling each time a neighbor asks the question.  The feeling I get is fear and the question asked is this:

       "If someone comes on my property, can I shoot 'em?"

       Never fail, someone or two or three would move the conversation away from proper lighting and vacation precautions to vigilantism.   The officers always hedged their bets saying that you should call the police and let them handled it.  When pressed, and they were always pressed, the officer would explain that you have every right to protect yourself with deadly force but only if you, not your property, is in danger.   Well, this wasn't enough for some people who felt they had every right to protect their crap, and the justifications and debate would continue.   I remember some meetings where this was discussed for the majority of the hour long meeting.  

       So, I learned that while no one is really interested in keeping their neighborhoods safe by offering to organize an address painting in the alley or trim hedges for elderly neighbors, some are interested in shooting any outsider that sets foot on their land.  They are all for that and that's just plain scary.  Even though I like most of my neighbors, and I (white woman) feel safe here, I would not be surprised if someone like Trayvon would be a victim in my neighborhood.  "Stand your ground" is a slippery slope with tragic consequences.  

Originally posted to Skunk Grunt on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:41 PM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks and Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (150+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hunter Huxley, Smoh, Pluto, Neon Mama, Curt Matlock, Sun Tzu, chicating, sockpuppet, Lorikeet, ms badger, SkylarkingTomFoolery, wdrath, Marie, slothlax, rogerdaddy, enemy of the people, SoCalSal, StrayCat, peglyn, jeanette0605, bronte17, Killer of Sacred Cows, DRo, Bill Roberts, Ms Citizen, Anna M, sawgrass727, Matilda, chimpy, SoCalJayhawk, Rhysling, Cofcos, Azazello, DvCM, Kevskos, lexalou, ladybug53, millwood, Cassandra Waites, OjaiValleyCali, bnasley, erratic, Ice Blue, Chinton, Kinak, BRog, Damnit Janet, reflectionsv37, Lilyvt, just another vet, eztempo, Ckntfld, AshesAllFallDown, Tom Anderson, Xapulin, congenitalefty, notdarkyet, Orinoco, LeoDaLion, cotterperson, ItsaMathJoke, linkage, Trotskyrepublican, Calamity Jean, Oh Mary Oh, number nine dream, Chaddiwicker, sailmaker, magicsister, JVolvo, OrdinaryIowan, Texnance, NM Ward Chair, kurt, greycat, brentbent, riverlover, radarlady, PinHole, Creosote, Habitat Vic, hungrycoyote, petesmom, semiot, sodalis, koNko, marleycat, Stripe, PsychoSavannah, Actbriniel, LinSea, maf1029, Geenius at Wrok, Just Bob, nzanne, OleHippieChick, KVoimakas, Wee Mama, white blitz, PBen, orson, lostboyjim, knitwithpurpose, Bob Duck, Jackson L Haveck, Shotput8, No one gets out alive, gatorcog, MadMs, raincrow, bfitzinAR, aufklaerer, jhop7, GrogInOhio, Carol in San Antonio, Leftcandid, MNGrandma, lgmcp, Mayfly, JayBat, davis90, TexDemAtty, weck, Joy of Fishes, minidriver, shades at midnite, cermakRd, idahojim, SanFernandoValleyMom, AllanTBG, daveygodigaditch, maybeeso in michigan, TheGreatLeapForward, janmtairy, fallina7, divedeeper, jfromga, YucatanMan, home solar, New Rule, PeterHug, IllanoyGal, NogodsnomastersMary, c u stageguy, ChuckInReno, peggy, Aaa T Tudeattack, Carlo, figurine, PSzymeczek
  •  qhestion did they ever find out who was (17+ / 0-)

    doing the burglars?  Here it was some meth head types doing knucklehead smash and enters (they once removed a deadbolted door, still in its frame and left their crowbars when there was an open window 10 feet from the door.

    The others were local teens whose parents were horrified but at least no one got shot  

  •  What's a nice white woman like you doing (15+ / 0-)

    with a name Like skunk grunt?  Just kidding!  I'm a white woman also and feel very safe in a neighborhood populated by deer, skunks, foxes (very exciting...there's a fox den in our little woods this year!  Makes the dog nuts, which is very fun), raccoons, possums, muskrats,  shall I continue?  Anyway, I've never been able to tolerate neighbors and you've just given me a good excuse.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 01:57:01 PM PDT

  •  I am curious. (8+ / 0-)

    Shooting someone in self defense; vigilantism or self defense?

    Shooting someone in defense of property I would consider vigilantism.

    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 02:37:39 PM PDT

  •  We have a neighborhood watch (15+ / 0-)

    We meet once a year with the local police who give us specific information about any local burglaries and offer us tips on keeping the neighborhood safe.  We don't have any patrols but one thing we have done now for several years is to let our neighbors know when we will be away. I email the neighbors on each side of me and those across the street when I am going to be gone for more than one night. I will let them know when I am leaving, when I will be returning, and how to reach me if there is an emergency. We all do this on a routine basis. That way your immediate neighbors can keep an eye on your home, pick up any fliers, or mail, or newspapers that end up on your porch.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 03:18:18 PM PDT

    •  I did this as well.... (5+ / 0-)

      When I lived in semi rural Vermont, I'd tell a couple of friends and also let the police know when I'd be leaving and returning, and told my neighbors to please call the police if they noticed a moving van at the house. (ok, ok, ok, the last was a slight exaggeration).
      Oddly enough, having lived in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Boston, the only place that was ever broken into and robbed was in bucolic Vermont.

      I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

      by Lilyvt on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:11:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lilyvt - you jest about the moving van (4+ / 0-)

        but we have all read of those accounts of people just dressing up in the right uniforms, entering the house, and stealing all the valuables. I think that is the most important part of the notification so that if your neighbors see anyone in your home, they know to call you or the police.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 09:24:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Want to protect your property.....get a dog, not (5+ / 0-)

          a gun.  The noise they make is the best protection there is.  The average time a robber spends in a house is 3 minutes, a noisy dog is too much trouble to deal with.

          •  But if you are traveling (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PinHole, white blitz, mmacdDE

            the dog isn't going to be inside the house. The dog will be at the kennel, or with a sitter, or in an enclosed area in your home. It isn't going to be loose inside the house. Thankfully, my house has never been entered by thieves while I was away and I have lived here for nearly 30 years. It is nearly impossible to get into the back yard when all the gates are locked so the thieves would have to come in through the front door or windows.  I had a wonderful dog for 15 years but after he passed away I didn't want the responsibility of dealing with pet care when I traveled.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:34:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I have never owned a gun (0+ / 0-)

            although Uncle Sam taught me to be an expert in small arms. I live in a very safe neighborhood and never had any interest in having a gun here. If I lived out in the country, where I was out of site of my neighbors and the police were a half hour away, I would definitely have a few big dogs and several guns.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:37:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Indeed (0+ / 0-)

            It's actually the first recommendation by the only cop I knew (a cousin of my wife) and when I researched it later, burglers surveyed had "dog" on the top of the list of a house they would skip.

            Unlike "watch" stickers (which are usually meaningless) or security systems (which are often not set up right, or have way too many false positives), dogs are freaking unpredictable.  

            My whole neighborhood has dogs, about every other house has one.   We don't really have much trouble with burglars.

            If you're not in a "dog neighborhood" yeah, it'll be less effective when you're on vacation.   Have your neighbors watch out for your house.

  •  What does this mean? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, slouchsock, PinHole

    getting our addresses painted in the alley

    •  My guess would be (7+ / 0-)

      Say you're in your back yard & see something across the alley going on, you'd have an address to give when you call it in.

      Either you're wit' us or a Guinness -- Brilliant!

      by Unforgiven on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 05:37:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  alley addresses (14+ / 0-)

      allow the police or fire department to find your house when in the alley.    The alleys are an access point and escape route for criminals and also may be the best way for police or firefighters to get to you in an emergency.  When they are dispatched to an address, it is difficult to know which house it is when not on the street.   Painting your address in the alley ensure police can find it.

    •  I think what you are asking, Nance, (3+ / 0-)

      refers to a type of neighborhood construction of housing plots.  Saw it first when I went to Texas to visit a cousin in the Dallas area.  Maybe mostly in the S & SW??

      Definitely not practical where there is snow.

      Instead of your yard backing directly into another's back yard, there is another road running between the back yards.  It is wide enough for a garbage truck to go down, as this is where you put your unsightly trash cans and other unmentionables.  It is called an alley because each back yard is enclosed with a high fence, with just a gate opening, or sometimes big enough for a car to enter.  

      So if you travel down this 'alley' it can be difficult to know exactly whose house you are near without the house numbers signifying.  This alley is also a roadway for people (and animals such as rats, coyotes) up to no good.  I imagine at night, if a patrol car went down this alley looking for the property where someone had called them, it is very difficult to find it without house numbers.  

      I can't imagine why people don't want the police to know the exact numbers, unless they are fearful of retaliation or identification by others who are not the police.


      •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

        Every neighborhood I grew up in (on the east coast) had them. It was often the access to the garage/driveway as well as for garbage trucks.

        Some places it wasn't large enough for a vehicle, but most were.  

        •  Never before seen in 65+ yrs (0+ / 0-)

          in MA, NH, ME, NY (upstate & on the Island), PA, WV, OH, RI, Ontario & Atlantic Canada, until TX & more recently FL.   YMMV, or maybe I just don't go to the right neighborhoods.

          •  Gosh, they're common in IL (0+ / 0-)

            Especially in Chicago and its inner ring burbs. In mine, they put snowplows on the garbage trucks and send them out when it snows.

            Most of our garages are also detached and they face the alley. This is essential for the small lots we have.

          •  Were all your houses brand new? Lived in condo or (0+ / 0-)

            apt complexes?  

            They are very common all across the USA. Even outside the very centers of cities.  (gave a longer answer above)

            What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

            by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:34:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quite the opposite, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              YucatanMan & cermakRd.  First house was in Cambridge Mass, probably built in late 1800's.  If anything rarely was around houses on streets which were laid out in straight lines - hills in New England and even flat Long Island don't lend themselves to that.

              Guess I just don't get out enough!  At any rate, as shown by some of the reactions above, I'm not the only one who might not have known what type of alleys these were, so I was just trying to help.  

              •  Nothing personal was meant at all. I was just (0+ / 0-)

                sorta baffled by the fact that you had not encountered many alleys.   They're all over NYC. They were all over KCMO (Kansas City Missouri).  My grandparents lived in a town of about 1500 people and there were alleys behind every house in town.  We once lived in a town of under 1000 people and we, too, had alleys bisecting every block in town.  My HS town of 80,000 had alleys behind most houses and businesses, aside from the suburbs from the 1960s where cul-de-sacs were common.

                So, I was just curious. Very interesting. Maybe if the original layout was not rectangular, the plan didnt lend itself to alleys.   Being very interested in urban development, you've given me a new thing to look into:  the lack of alleys in older cities (where applicable).

                Have a great day!

                What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

                by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:35:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for speculating. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nance, PinHole

        I had no idea of what an alley was either. The only image that comes up for me is a narrow street between 2 buildings in a city and according to tv always dark and the place to be murdered.

        music- the universal language

        by daveygodigaditch on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:00:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes, most of that I agree with but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NogodsnomastersMary, PinHole
        It is called an alley because each back yard is enclosed with a high fence, with just a gate opening, or sometimes big enough for a car to enter.  
        No, that's not why they are called alleys.  And alleys existed long before the type of suburban yards where one yard meets another at the back boundary.

        Alleys were almost always built in every rectangular block layout in US cities.  From your comment below, it sounds like you have spent a lot of time in suburbs or in rural type areas if you have never encountered alleys before.  Almost every city center that is more than 50 years old has them.

        They were used for coal delivery before natural gas was piped everywhere, for trash pick-up, for services and supplies deliveries to not block the fronts of the buildings, etc.

        In modern suburbs, the alleys you describe are often used to keep the cars and garages in back, out of sight.  They encourage crime because criminals cannot be seen by other neighbors while they are breaking into your house or garage due to the high fences and easy transportation access behind the house.  The house fronts without driveways give that clean "Dallas look."  (meaning plastic, uniform, and lifeless).

        Wiki has a fairly decent entry for Alleys:

        In the United States alleys exist in both older commercial and residential areas, for both service purposes and automobile access. In residential areas, primarily those built before 1950, alleys provide rear access to property where a garage was located, or where waste could be collected by service vehicles. A benefit of this was the location of these activities to the rear, less public side of a dwelling. Such alleys are typically roughly paved, but some may be dirt. By 1950 they had largely disappeared from development plans for new homes.

        I would disagree with the 1950 date, because of the alleys you encountered in Texas and Florida, but they are very very common in city centers, if not more outlying areas.

        What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

        by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:33:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And there I was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        putting my unmentionables right out on the street. :)

        •  We take our unmentionables :-) (0+ / 0-)

          to the recycling center, in our own multi-purpose mini-van garbage truck.  Usually 2 to 3 weeks of 'trash' means one large garbage bag, and enough recyclables to require the van.  Thus we only pay about $2, a month for garbage removal.  

          But other people on the road put theirs out at the end of the driveway for weekly pick-up and recycle about half of what we do.

    •  When you call the police and give your address, (0+ / 0-)

      they'd like to be able to identify the house from the alley as well as from in front.

      Or when your house is on fire, maybe the alley is closest to the nearest fire hydrant, but which house to pull up to (assuming smoke isn't pouring out into the sky yet).

      Police often catch the criminals behind the house or near by.  So finding the address of the house in question while in the alley can be a big help.

      Everyone should label their fence or paint the numbers on the paved alley or something.  Knowing which house can cut minutes off the response time.

      What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

      by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:23:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Was on a neighborhood patrol in TX (16+ / 0-)

    Really did it because i worked out of my house and had the time and because my neighbor across the street headed it up.  Surprisingly no one wanted to shoot anyone.  We all had training from the police which basically said, report, don't follow, call the professionals.  It was all surprisingly low key.  Somehow Zimmermann didn't get the message.

    •  No *&^%! I believe in neighbors watching (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kinak, JVolvo, jhop7, MNGrandma, the fan man

      out for each other, if we had a neighborhood watch program here, maybe I'd volunteer, maybe not.

      But I'm also a gun owner, and I'd never, ever go out armed. Well maybe if zombies were attacking.

      “Science is like sex: sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it.” – Richard Feynman (-9.00,-8.86)

      by Jonathan Hoag on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 07:19:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seattle (6+ / 0-)

    yeah, my brother in-law attended a similar meeting in the Ballard neighborhood - although it was more of a community meeting for multiple blocks. He himself has a bit of a battle going on with a local tagger who writes graffiti on fences in the alley

    He was unhappy with the way that someone was loudly recommending calling the police whenever people saw teenagers or anyone they didn't like, and forcing the police to respond by giving (false) information that would make it an emergency. The man was griping that police wouldn't respond to minor calls and that you have to force them to check out the 'suspicious' individual.

    So my brother in law complained on a local blog about this community group, and said police don't appreciate false tips. Some of them were offended and were demanding to know who had made the comment

    •  We have a non-emergency police number (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, kurt, PinHole, Just Bob

      We are always instructed to call the non-911 number if something is just suspicious.  The reasoning is that it may be nothing but, why not let the police check it out, just in case.  Better they check it out than you.  I have called to report someone suspicious  and the police came out fairly quickly and resolved the issue.  It was that easy.  It's horrible to think that people are giving false info to police.  talk about crying wolf.  Hopefully, there is a non-emergency number that could handle this in other communities.

  •  Somehow, I'd guess you don't 'patrol' with a 9mm (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, JVolvo, PinHole, PsychoSavannah

    I just heard this evening that George Zimmerman "was just going to the grocery store" when he spotted Trayvon Martin walking down the street wearing a hoodie jacket.

    It was only because Trayvon was "suspicious," being a black kid walking on the sidewalk in a hoodie and all, that Zimmerman changed his mission from going out for Orville Redenbacher's® popcorn to following a potential home-invading, murdering thug.

    And, I found out this evening that George Zimmerman apparently routinely straps on his 9mm weapon to go down to the grocery store.

    Any questions?

    •  Well, you never know when a (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      gunman might try to shoot a congresswoman outside that grocery store.....

      It is so utterly ridiculous that people feel the neeeeeeeed to have a gun with them at all times.  There is something so very, very sad about those people.

      •  rampant paranoia grips this nation. (6+ / 0-)

        You may be thinking I am joking, but I'm very serious.

        Everyone is convinced that they are in mortal danger at each step.  

        I blame the disconnectedness among us.  Generally speaking, no one really knows everyone on their block, or has a good friend at the corner bar (there are very few corner bars any more), or does anything outside the house, or interacts with people on public transportation.

        Instead, everyone jumps into their car while still parked in their own garage, pushes the automatic opener, drives to work alone (hardly anyone car pools), works, drives home alone (possibly listening to RW talk radio), pulls into their garage, looks for what's for dinner, sits down to eat, watch TV or surf the net, goes to bed and repeats.

        Utter isolation from the dozens of people that everyone used to interact with just 50-60 years ago, when you might right the bus to work, talking with fellow passengers, ride the bus home, maybe stop off for a beer, talk with the neighborhood folks doing the same, go home, have dinner, go out for a stroll around the block, hang out with some friends on the street corner or pool hall or whatever else. Plus membership was higher at all sorts of social groups which are struggling for membership these days, including mainstream churches.

        Yes, yes, yes, that is very generalized, but the degree to which people are self-isolated is so much greater today that I do believe it is a factor.  People do not know one another, therefore they fear each other.

        Then throw in the 24 hr news cycle where you can watch the same murder, 1000 miles away, over and over and over, 50 times per day and "fear" is being drilled into everyone's heads.

        What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

        by YucatanMan on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 02:44:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, and actually (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        EricS, PsychoSavannah, PSzymeczek

        Some of Gifford's constituents WERE armed.

        They didn't try to shoot because there were too many innocents in the way.

        Being strapped didn't help at all.  It took people grabbing the gunman to stop him.

        So taking the gun to the mart didn't even help in the one time when something like that DID go down.

  •  Who do I thank (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    notdarkyet, linkage, JVolvo

    for getting me into the community spotlight?  Also, great comments everyone!  Thanks for reading.

  •  Hey Skunk Grunt, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, PinHole

    what the Hell's wrong up there in Phoenix, is it somethin' in the water ?

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 08:29:17 PM PDT

  •  I'm pretty sure Az has the stand your ground law (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, PinHole, Leftcandid

    too.  It came up when that defense attorney shot that guy last year from his car and was never arrested.  Then because of a phone call the victim had made during the incident the attorney finally was arrested.  Don't know what happened after that, haven't heard.  Then we had the guy who shot that guy and his dogs when he was out hiking.  He went to trial and got off.  And it seems the cops shot anyone who moves near them.  It can be dangerous to step outside your door in AZ.

  •  We have Citizens on Patrol in our neighborhood (11+ / 0-)

    We went through training at the police academy and were trained by police officers. We could not carry guns and I couldn't even bring my dog. We carried a radio to communicate with our district police and report anything suspicious. We never engaged if we saw something dangerous like a drug deal. We just reported.

    We also reported on neighborhood conditions like broken windows, trash, potential problems, suspicious activity, gang activity , graffiti,ect.

    We wore a COP hat and shirt. Jackets were available for the winter. We had meetings once a month. We always traveled in 3s or more. Never alone. Never with guns.
    We could get a patrol car if we wanted it if we went to special training.

    It stopped the problems in our neighborhood with guns.
    We learned to work with our other neighbors to do a neighborhood watch. It can work but training helps. No one had a Rambo attitude and I doubt they would have gotten through training if they had. I wouldn't have walked with them.

  •  Perfect. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, docterry, jhop7

    While they spend their community meeting time talking about how to shoot poor people, the banks are quietly stealing their pensions and their nice houses.  

  •  I remember our neighborhood watch in SLC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We had a cop come in and tell is about all the bad groups:  the druggies, the vampires, etc.

    Since I was part of the Vampire group (We were a Live Acting Role Playing group the was very active downtown, and I thought the police had been clearly informed of our activities), I was shocked to find I was on a watch list.

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 07:13:18 AM PDT

  •  Zimmerman Frenzy Exposes Awkward Reality (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Nationally, things seem to be headed towards an assumption that this matter is a racist crime.  That may or may not be the case.  

    However, it is troubling how such cases illuminate the way we think of race and crime.  

    Every day a lot of white-white and black-black crime goes down.  As has been pointed out, by far and away the greatest lethal threat statistically to a young black male is another young black male.  

    If Zimmerman was a young black man who had killed another young black man, what are the chances this would have made national news?

    That should trouble us just as much.  The death toll of young black men continues every day.  Yet because these other young black men are killed by other young black men, we don't know their names.  They won't get T-shirts and marches.  They won't get visits from Reverends Al and Jesse.  Their case won't get a comment from the President of the United States.  

    These other young black men deserved to live just as much.  But as a nation we collectively shrug at each morning's reported death toll.  What does that say about us?

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 11:07:05 AM PDT

  •  when I first moved to rural (5+ / 0-)

    Maine in 1973 I hitch-hiked with my backpack on to VT. The first car of locals picked me up and asked who I was and where I was going. I told them where I lived, where I was going and when I would be back. I didn't realize they were the local family of generations of theives. My tv and tape recorder were gone when I got back. I'm a little smarter nowadays.

    An old timer said that the people around here were good people. Sure they would steal your chainsaw but if you asked them they would let you borrow it.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 12:07:17 PM PDT

  •  Dumb people can buy a gun, take a gun safety (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    course but in the end they are still a dumb person with a gun. The Zimmermans Among Us

  •  Look out for the block watch (0+ / 0-)

    I lived in Seattle for years and we had a neighborhood watch. It was pretty normal--we met periodically with the cops, ate cookies, tried to look out for each other.

    When I moved into my current red state neighborhood, I felt like I'd moved onto another planet.

    There was a very "active" block watch, most of them elderly and retired, obsessed with America's decline, horrific crime (as told to them by Fox news), and of course, dark people.  Add to that, strangers of all types.  The watch captains went ballistic when I had black workers make repairs before I moved in.  And I even hired a black landscaper!  I was told I'd need to inform them ANYTIME anybody from "outside" came to my house.  I ignored them.  And every once in awhile, reminded them that it was MY property, not theirs, and I was the Decider in my own home.

    Friends and relatives who visited me were "surveilled." These old block watchers maintained a high state of paranoia--this seemed to be a sort of bonding experience for these old dudes & fading southern belles.  One family was constantly harassed so they'd be "run out of the neighborhood."  They were blamed for everything that happened, with no real evidence of guilt that I ever heard about.

    I called them the "slave patrollers."  I tried to extract as much humor value from this as I could--I read the neighborhood newsletter (the 'Paranoia press") aloud to friends at parties and we all howled.  

    However, it wasn't really funny.  It was creepy.  They really were like the slave patrollers, and they'd have LOVED to get the chance to shoot some dark interloper.  They used the block watch to get together, patrol in their SUVs, and indulge their collective paranoia and Rambo fantasies.  And you could not persuade them it was all in their heads.

    Eventually the problem was solved (death, the nursing home...), and my neighborhood has a younger nicer crowd.  The remaining oldsters don't get much traction with their paranoid talk anymore.  But we definitely had a very weird culture in my 'hood for awhile.

    And my neighborhood is the most BORING place in the world, if you actually check the crime stats.  Very little crime at all.

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