14 April 2016

neigborhood crime

There was a shooting in our neighborhood last week. Where we live seems to be in a bit of a pocket. A few blocks away in certain directions have more issues with crime, but our development seems to have pushed it out a little. This shooting, though, was within the development. After church on Sunday, we walked around the perimeter of the taped off area a little to see if we could discover any information about what had happened. There were a group of police/investigators taking pictures of some street-parked cars. We saw a woman come out of her house to ask them why they were taking pictures of her car. They told her that there was blood on it. "Sorry," said one of the police officers. "I didn't realize that was your car! Otherwise I would have told you." I keep remembering that little exchange. Like it was no big deal that someone else got blood on your car or something? S. has been very interested in toy guns and was playing with his gun he built from blocks even while we were walking around this crime scene. The timing seemed poor. I've tried to explain that guns hurt people, but the association seems lost on him. The shooting was a bit unsettling, as it occurred at a town home within our development, and there was actually a similar incident about two weeks ago not much farther away. The previous shooting three weeks ago was murky. Apparently they found a man who had been shot in a parking lot and it was unclear where the shooting had taken place. This one over the weekend involved multiple victims and possibly multiple shooters who were at a large party where an argument had taken place. I don't know if either of the shootings ended up involving fatalities, as the news reports don't really seem to include follow-ups after the initial footage.

Where we live has some interesting demographics and I am trying to wrap my head around it. We bought a house through the Good Neighbor Next Door program, so we didn't really choose the location ourselves. We knew it was deemed a "revitalization area" by the government, but we were pretty unaware of what the area was actually like. It's probably not that much different as far as crime goes than where we lived in Salt Lake, but I felt like I understood the neighborhood in Salt Lake and despite sometimes being affected by crime while living there, it didn't seem that threatening. But I have never lived in the South before, so it feels like a new ball game in some ways. My kid is also approaching school-age, so my involvement in the community is going to change, probably. I'm thinking about education with a new urgency than I did before, and I'm just not sure what choices to make. I don't know what to think. Neighborhood schools do not seem to be well respected.

I feel like an outsider where we live. It seems like our neighbors are all black. It sounds stupid to say this, but I kind of used to think that race didn't mean much and people were making a big deal out of nothing. But coming here has broadened my concept of racial identity in some ways. I realize there's a lot more culture associated with this racial group than I had conceived of before, and in some ways that's made me feel alienated and like there is even less common ground between me and people in the black community here. But it's also made me appreciate a bit more the complexity of race relations, so maybe that's a good thing? My world is still pretty small, as I spend my time at home with the young children and mainly only know people from going to church. I'm not necessarily proud of that, but it is what it is. People at church don't live in our neighborhood, so the people I might think of as peers normally also seem demographically different. Does that kind of thing matter or does it not? Color me confused.

2 comments:

Margaret said...

Such an interesting post. It's hard but good to be out of your comfort zone. But I also think it's good to stay safe, especially with kids! That's a delicate balance. Thanks for sharing what life is like for you right now. Sounds like there is a lot going on!

Samuel Rogers said...

We lived in a not-terrible but not-good neighborhood for 4 years in Houston. Our neighbors were mostly black or Hispanic. We had crime as well; one example was when the boys across the street stole their neighbors car. Now we live in Tucson and it's a respectable Suburban neighborhood, predominately white. We didn't make one friend in our neighborhood in Houston for 4 years and yet we have found it easy to make friends here. I would not have felt comfortable with our kid going to school where we lived in Houston but we love the public school here. Sort of like you the only silver lining I could find was that it helped me appreciate the "complexity of race relations". Perhaps you will have better luck than we did and you will thrive and blossom where we did not. They say that some people can blossom wherever they are planted, hopefully you are one of them!

You might be interested in this study

http://www.urbanchildinstitute.org/sites/all/files/databooks/TUCI_Data_Book_V_2010.08_community.pdf

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