March 24, 2014 at 4:49 am #2261
I lived in Los Angeles, California back in the late 90s. At one point I ended up renting an apartment on what was literally the edge of the “Warzone”, a section of the greater metro that was heavily Hispanic and very rough. The area I lived was more mixed, still Hispanic but also with many Blacks and Asians. I was literally one of only two Caucasians living on the block. A coworker had inherited a 4-plex and a large house from his grandmother. I needed a place to stay, the place I was in wasn’t working out. He rented me an apartment at a good price.
Now I have always been very much a “Grey Man”, someone who blends in unnoticable, which you can read a bit about here: Grey Man Directive. I always tried to look no descript when I went out, looking poor and on hard times. This actually lead to me being stopped by the cops twice, both times they asked if I was on parole.
(White guy, ponytail, that neighborhood…lol)
I’d arrived in Los Angeles a few years after the “Rodney King riots”, which were still very much on the minds of everyone.
The point of my post, is there was a group of older teenagers that hung out at the end of the street. Wantabee gangbangers. They would panhandle for change to buy beer. There was a small convenience store around the corner I’d buy beer from. I used to always keep a dollar bill in my jeans pocket when I went out, just to give to them if they were there. That way I didn’t get out my wallet. Also a dollar as opposed to a few quarters ups the bribe. Makes them remember you, and hopefully in a good way.
Anyway, I remember one particular instance, I was walking back, having purchased a couple of 40 oz beer bottles. The kind of leader was on the corner. I hadn’t seen him for almost a month and when he asked for some change I asked where he’d been. Turns out he’s been arrested and spent the time in jail.
Rather than give him change, I gave him one of the bottles.
This proved helpful a week later. I was making my run to the store and he was out. He flagged me over and warned me I didn’t want to go to the store. Said the cops were out. I was out of beer so took the chance. There were three cars in front of the store. Someone had tried to rob it. They had a few people up against the wall. Being white and older I nodded to the officers and just acted naturally. Bought my beer and an extra for the local banger, who thanked me as I walked home.
My point is to always make friends with the local kids, especially the ones who look a little shady. They are your first warning line.March 24, 2014 at 11:18 am #2290
If you want to know what is happening, and what is gonna happen, if you want to keep “ear on the ground” it is always good to know people like that.
They are always folks with good info.March 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm #2310
This is great, thank you for sharing it!March 25, 2014 at 3:06 am #2367
I had a car repair shop in a rough area of Denver years ago. We always helped the local kids fix their bikes, and one day when something was taken from one of our client’s cars, the local tough guy brought it back to us about ten minutes later…what goes around comes around…March 25, 2014 at 8:36 am #2396
Yes, this is it. Thanks for sharing!
We cultivate connections to the local authorities and mob which in our case are the same. (The police also does hits here.) A little present and some well meant attention can go a long way. Just don’t show any weakness or act like you are a pushover.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")March 25, 2014 at 5:49 pm #2823
“Wildlife”. I like it
I live in a rural area fortunately but have some fairly large towns not terribly far away. I know that could become an issue in some cases. In my case, making friends with my neighbors is a source of comfort, but even then you never know. The better I know them and the more I know about their personal situations either raises or lowers my comfort level.March 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm #4417
living in a city for all those years you get to know what to do and not what to do or you don’t get any older! I got street savvy very early in life, knew to sit with my back to a wall and to listen for footsteps coming up behind me in the street. I ran with a street gang for awhile and then became a biker for many,many years, surprising to many but not me, I found that the bikers were the ones to trust not the neighbours!!
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