Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Background:  Signs have cropped up around the Tangletown neighborhood (a/k/a the delightful intersection of Green Lake and Wallingford, USA) that indicate visitors are being watched and their license plate numbers are being recorded.  They are homemade in the best possible sense of the word.  And they are posted by neighbors who have had it with the crime in this neighborhood.  The signs, as well as a very interesting article and follow-up article, not to mention a very respectful and dynamic conversation, are posted at Wallyhood.org.

I know.  You are busy.  You want me to summarize.  Sheesh.

The neighbors have noticed a disturbing increase in drug deals in the 5000 and subsequent blocks of Wallingford Ave. N., along with the surrounding neighborhoods.  Open and obvious deals.  They have contacted SPD, who can’t do much unless the miscreants are caught in the act.  By the SPD. 

As a resident of said neighborhood-ish area and a general big mouth, I would like to add my voice and address some of the concerns that have been raised by the posting of the signs and the recording of license numbers.  I will try to do so in a  loving and tender way, but please remember that I am a bitch by both nurture and nature.  Ok?

First, it is simply not illegal for my neighbors to keep an eye on their ‘hood or record license numbers or other identifying information.  It is not unconstitutional.  It is private action taken by private citizens from their private property. Of course, the SPD must be very careful with information gained by such measures, which is why they won’t take any action without catching the miscreants in the act.  Furthermore, I know of no Constitutional provision that protects your privacy while you are engaged in illegal activity.  No, not even in your house (see, e.g., Bowers v. Hardwick, overruled by Lawrence v. Texas).

Second, if my neighbors were just getting worked up about a few unfamiliar cars in the neighborhood, I’d probably tell them to get a hobby–one that does not involve getting all up in other peeps’ bidness.  But, lest you forget, the paranoia is not without reason.  Do you remember or know anything about the following?

Third, assuming that the drug activity is real and not imagined (and trust me, it is real), no one has the right to engage in illegal activity in any place at any time.  I reject the notion that this neighborhood and its residents are “NIMBY” types who are simply forcing the problem to move elsewhere.  The activity (along with all of the other crimes mentioned above) are not permitted anywhere, and we should all be vigilent, no matter where we are, and actively discourage such behavior wherever we find it.  The signs accomplish that objective just by their presence around the neighborhood.  How do I know?  Because my fellow neighbors are nervous about parking in their own neighborhood because of the signs, so I can only imagine that non-residents, particularly non-resident criminals, are also nervous.

Fourth, maybe you don’t agree that drug possession or dealing should be criminalized.  And maybe I don’t either.  Irrelevant.  It is currently illegal, it begets further illegality, and no one should have to suffer it gladly or otherwise.  Decriminalization, right or wrong, is an entirely different subject and cause.  Until that issue is resolved (do NOT hold your breath), all citizens have the right to expect compliance with and enforcement of the law.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my “friend” from the “suburbs” just pulled up outside, and I need to go “talk” to him for a minute or two.

Too soon to make jokes?  Ooops.  My bad.  Sorry.


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