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Crime Watch Neighborhoods

This sign is bolted on a wall just outside my apartment. I bristle each time I see it. I can write off the part about suspicious activities, because I can image how this might be reasonable; a stranger walking out of my neighbor's house with a TV would certainly be suspicious. However, what is to be made of "suspicious persons"?

Crime Watch Sign I would love to be proven wrong, but I think "suspicious persons" is a euphemism for "people not like us". In the area I live, that would most likely be black skinned people. In these modern times, it is not acceptable to put up signs like, "whites only". So instead we get these thinly disguised signs of intolerance.

Diversity is the last thing any group of people wants. But today we must pay lip service to it. As a result, white society goes out of its way to find "oreos" and "apples" to surround itself with. But people who are really different--heroin users, for example--frighten them completely. So they vilify people who are really different in the the name of protecting their property or their children. But in the end it is the same as it has always been: fear and hatred of "the other".

by Dr. H
© 2001


Dear HEROIN helper,

You article about the Neighborhood Crime Watch signs made me laugh. I live in a "crime watch" neighborhood as well, and about a month ago I got my dealer to come to my house after a long time trying. The first thing he noticed when he got out of his car was a crime watch sign, and he said, ironically, "I guess I don't need to worry about my car getting broken into."

My dealer is a light skinned black man, and that was the first and last time he came to my house. When I asked him to come by my house again, he said no. Then he added, "Those crime watch signs made me realize that I stick out as much in your neighborhood as you do in mine." I'm germanic: blond and very fair skinned; his neighborhood is almost entirely black.

As it is, in the two years I've lived in this apartment, no one has ever come by and talked to me about our "Crime Watch Program". The program seems just to be signs. I think you're dead on in your article. All those signs say is, "Minorities, stay away." The implication is that minorities commit crime so if you keep them out of your neighborhood, you'll keep crime out of your neighborhood. It's very sad.

Anonymous
edited by Dr. H © 2002


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