It has sure been interesting times in my neighborhood…we have been pretty protected in our little bubble of troubles we are dealing with but taking a look at my neighborhood watch email and the RVP updates I’m bummed to say things are not getting better crime wise.
One neighbor was able to interrupt a break-in that was occurring at their house within a few blocks of where I live. I can’t imagine what that must have been like, it sounds like they didn’t want to get into trouble and so vacated the scene quickly which is the best thing they could have done.
Another neighbor was able to interrupt a mugging that happened just about 3 short blocks from us, one man attacked another from behind in an effort to take his backpack. Fortunately the neighbor was paying attention and from the car backed up, interrupted the situation and the attacker ran away leaving a shaken but ok attackee at the scene.
From a little further away a woman close to my age was also attacked on Valentines day… again the attack was interrupted but again too…the suspects are at large.
Last time I lived in a high crime area was when I lived in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, I was fortunately never a victim of such crimes, the worst I experienced was harassment and getting egged once which is nothing compared to someone actually trying to hurt someone else physically.
I believe that I avoided being hurt in that neighborhood by:
Staying very aware of surroundings
I made a point to not act scared, I didn’t for example cross the street away from people who looked a little scary or anything, but I did walk a different way if I had to walk there again soon afterwards to return home.
Making eye contact with EVERYONE I walked by along with a friendly nod or smile
Using the above example, I treated EVERYONE as a friend, I didn’t cower or try to dominate in any situation. I acknowledged everyone that I walked by and made a mental note of them “just in case” at the same time.
Building as many connections within the community as possible
By acknowledging everyone conversations often came up, this led to an increase of people I knew in the neighborhood who knew me and who I knew off. In New York this was particularly good because people were usually with lots of other people and through affiliation I grew connected with more people which I equate to a stronger safety net.
I find that my experience of Seattle people it seems they/we are often very tunnel visioned, walking with their blinders on and I believe this is very much helping the criminals who are hurting people to get away with what they are doing. Chances are that the people who attacked other people ran from the scene, or walked, without making eye contact with anyone and without anyone looking them over to closely and fading into the background.
If we can all put more effort into getting to know our neighbors, acknowledging and respecting EVERYONE we pass on the street and drop the stereotypes and any prejudice, because preconceived judgements don’t help anyone. Seriously.
Your neighbor – Kristin