Everyday tips for living in a high-crime neighborhood
Nobody wants to live in a crime-ridden area. People often live there out of necessity – for ease of getting to work, low rent, proximity to family and so on. Some people live in neighborhoods that begin to go through tough times; perhaps a major factory closes and suddenly crime starts to increase. Others move into the area, perhaps hoping to get in at the start of gentrification, or simply because they can’t go anywhere else. Whatever the reasons, living in a high-crime area can be a stressful and risky experience and there are definitely things you need to take into consideration that you wouldn’t otherwise need to do elsewhere.
The first thing is to realize that the crime is being perpetrated by a minority of people. Most of your neighbors are just like you, law abiding individuals who are looking out for themselves and each other. That’s why it’s important to get to know your neighbors. They’ll want to know who is living next door to them. These are the guys who can clue you up on the neighborhood – people and areas to avoid, safety tips, what to look out for and how to act. Good neighbors look out for one another, watch each other’s property and so on. If you live on a particularly tough street, you might want to buddy up with your neighbor when walking around. Whatever you do, don’t walk around intoxicated.
High crime areas are usually poor areas and showing off any wealth you might have is asking to be targeted. You should carry a phone with its battery charged, but it should be out of sight. Dress down and wear baggy clothes that can conceal anything of value you might have in hidden pockets. By sticking to well-lit areas and avoiding gang hotspots, especially at night, you reduce the risk of walking into trouble. When driving, never drive with the window down and always leave a car-length gap either side of your car to avoid opportunistic carjackings. Be especially wary at red lights. If your area is associated with a particular gang, find out who their rivals are and don’t be seen wearing anything with that rival’s colors. Plenty of people have been shot for simply wearing the wrong color t-shirt or baseball cap.
If you like to exercise, do it at the gym or drive to a safer area if you like running in parks or at the beach. Running in a dangerous neighborhood can cause all kinds of confusion. Get yourself a good quality treadmill, something like this: http://www.treadmilltrends.com/schwinn-830/. It will help you keep fit and the comfort and quality of the machine will make up for the lack of fresh air.
At home, get a dog if possible. The more ferocious it sounds, the better. Dogs can be a nightmare for intruders, so 99% will move on and try to find an easier place to break into. Put up blinds so that nobody can see into your home and make sure the exterior is well-lit. Hoodlums don’t congregate in well-lit areas. If you own a gun, don’t advertise the fact. Some home invasions take place with the specific intention of stealing a firearm. As with anywhere, don’t reach for your gun unless you fully intend to use it. You may think you’re just sending a warning message, but another person will think you intend to fire and you could end up getting shot.
Secure your windows and doors. Deadbolts are the way to go as other types of locks are easy to kick in. A peephole is a good idea, a chain isn’t. Even better is a security camera with an intercom and an internal monitor to show you who is at the door.Doors and windows that are hidden from your neighbor’s view and the street are going to be the most likely places an intruder will try to enter. Block them off entirely if it’s feasible, but don’t compromise your emergency exit.
If you have a mail box or a bell, don’t put your name on it. If you must put your name on it, for whatever reason, try to get away with a slight alteration, a nickname, a spelling mistake or even a blatant lie (such as putting “Sgt.” before a civilian’s name).
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around. If you have to, stick up for yourself. People pick up on weakness. If you get singled out as weak, you become a target for all the lowlifes in your area.