Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Fear of Crime Epidemics

COMMENT OF THE DAY RUNNER-UP: FEAR OF CRIME EPIDEMICS “A good friend of mine lived in Third Ward up until about four years ago. Never had a problem with crime. Seriously. I recall stopping at a little convenience store on MacGregor, a bit nervous being the only white guy in the place, but god how stupid I felt when the worst I encountered was a hello, and an enterprising young man selling pirated DVDs out of his car in the parking lot. Meanwhile, up here in Oak Forest, we’ve got residents going positively bananas every time a car gets broken into or a mysterious car is seen driving slowly around the block. Check out the Oak Forest Facebook page. It’s an astonishing epicenter of paranoia. It’s so bad that I think it’s actually hurting efforts to make a good community. We can’t go a week without some poor black guy having his picture plastered on the page with somebody asking if anybody recognizes him. And most of the time, it’s a plumber or an electrician or somebody going about their work. And now we’ve got a group handing out shotguns to everyone in the name of security. I’m sure that’s going to work out just fine. It’s not that I don’t feel safe here; I absolutely do. I just get tired of the gossip passing for actual news. I want to live in a place where people are happy and engaging and hospitable, but I worry that it’s not going that way at all. And as somebody with a mixed-race child, I admit that I do worry about some crazy neighbor calling the cops because she’s out riding an expensive bicycle or something. And that makes me almost as paranoid as some of my neighbors.” [Anse, commenting on Comment of the Day Runner-Up: Splendors of the East]

23 Comment

  • Stereotypes happen for a reason… Why are people so surprised by them. If I was of a nationality that was stereotyped I would be angry at my own race not those stereotyping. I would tell my race to quit breaking into peoples cars who work hard for a living and get a job!! That way when my people were walking through a neighborhood people wouldn’t assume they were going to break into cars…

  • Dido. My sister and her family live in Oak Forest in a very nice McMansion. My brother-in-law has equipped the house with a 10 ft fence, security gates, cameras and alarm. He helped organize the new security detail and still has a need to feel secure. Might I add he and his family are African-American. lol Seriously this “crime wave” is the biggest bunch of malarky ever. My suggestion was to find ways to get residents out walking and gathering to deter would be criminals. My brother-in-law agreed but “others” opted for a expensive security company and handing out shotguns. I’m ex military and one thing I know for sure, all of you concealed weapon fanatics and shoot first, ask questions later people are wannabes. Wannabe heroes and crime fighters. It takes special training and experience to provide “security”. This is a disaster waiting to happen, shotguns are effect but place a harden criminal armed with a semi-auto weapon and nothing to lose but 30 years in prison in front of you and things might not go as well as planned. peace

  • They should just hire Zimmerman.

  • #1 Oakey is spot on, stereotypes exist for a reason. I am a white guy, college degree, first college degree in my family, and pay a lot in taxes. I get a speeding ticket or parking ticket once a year as my Tahoe gets broken into once a year but I dont call the useless cops. If I hear HPD saying “crime is way down” then I know the people are so fed up that they dont even call them anymore except for the violent stuff. I do not want to be around people with face tattos, no job, pants around their ankles, loud rap music, no education that won’t/don’t work, they are not in my league. I choose to live in an area that somewhat insulates me for this group and that is my perogative. Crime drives development and that is a fact. If you have kids in Houston and want them to get an education you move to Katy or Woodlands if you dont have the big money o send them to school with the Baptists. I grea up in Port Arthur so my comments are based on real world experience, not news stories. Inside the loop every house worth owning have a 10′ fence around it, alarm, and several locks. We as a society have propped up underachievers and the lazy to the point of now they are about 50% of our population and outbreeding us 10 to 1. I am a driven alpha male programmed to succeed, work, and continue learning just like most posters on SwampLot. If you dont like what I am saying or think I am insensitive SOB then stay out of my way. The man who is not working must stay out of the way of the man that is!! Crime drives development and that is a fact

  • being burglarized is a shocking feeling. stolen Tvs, Ipads , computer, lawn equipment, patio furniture, plants, bashed in car windows, stolen athletic gear – yea none it matters unless, it’s your stuff that was stolen. there are some people that sympathize with criminals like it’s a bunch of Robin hoods out there.

  • Wow Ben. Wow.

  • Wow, reading these comments, you’d think that only a certain kind of people commits all the crimes. Hmmm? I guess these folks never heard of Madoff, Lay, Abramoff,Fastow, Stanford, Skilling, Ebbers, Rigas,you know, people who destroyed the incomes, savings, investments, and retirements of hundreds of thousands of Americans – not just stole their bikes or iPhones, and are all the same “kind” of people.

    Stereotypes do exist for a reason; it’s called ignorance.

  • When I worked as a new photographer in Houston, I always considered the East Side one of the better parts of town. But then again, I never got mugged or robbed in ANY part of town, no matter how dicey some people thought they were. Although some of my coworkers did. Go figure.

  • So while I agree with OP about the hyperbolic language–some degree of neighborhood monitoring can possibly be constructive. Little confused by him opening his story about being scared as the only white guy in a story then ultimately ends the posting by patronizing his neighbors for being scared of anyone in the neighborhood that is black. Sounds like he might be living in the right spot?

  • the only scary thing i’ve seen in the third ward was a girl, probably 7 years old, running/screaming for her life in the street from a rottweiler.

  • Jon, I appreciate the point your making, but it also plays into the same stereotype to a certain degree. Pasty folk aren’t just committing white collar (ha!) crimes. We live in a diverse city in a post-meth world: our shit comes in every color.

    SimplySid, I think you’re half-right. Building a bunker and grabbing a bazooka probably isn’t the answer to crime. But what if a little old lady feels safer taking an evening stroll with a little .380 in her purse? Sure, the gun won’t solve everything, but isn’t having her out and about as another vigilant witness and citizen what we want?

    Ah, and Ben – you’d think that someone who pays so much attention to stereotypes would be able to recognize their own character in them. Tell us again how you are strong and everyone else is weak, and how all problems are 100% the fault of people who aren’t like you. If it rhymes you can make a rap song about it. I particularly like your last line: “Move B****, get out tha’ way!” Although that one was already taken by the people you hate.

  • I always felt safer walking around Eastwood or down Telephone Road than walking around Montrose or down Westheimer.

  • As an OF resident for over 15 years, I can attest that more people than ever are out and about: jogging, walking and riding bikes during the morning and late afternoon & evening hours. However, as stay at home parents and retirees become scarcer and all the adults in household work outside the home, burglars are given more opportunities to ply their “trade”. There used to be a volunteer citizen patrol, which was nice. I do have some trepidation about the paid armed security. I am not very comfortable with them deciding who “belongs” and who doesn’t or what constitutes suspicious behavior and then acting on it in a possibly fatal way. I guess it’s like the new burglar bars: you might feel safer, but it does have some drawbacks.

    If the OF Facebook page posts pertaining to an incident during and after a police search for a carjacking suspect in the neighborhood is any indication, though, there are plenty of armed residents just itching to “stand their ground” or test the “castle doctrine” themselves. That is a bit scarier than the security patrol.

  • “I am a driven alpha male programmed to succeed, work, and continue learning just like most posters on SwampLot. If you dont like what I am saying or think I am insensitive SOB then stay out of my way.”

    Ben must be a real peach at holiday gatherings. Trust me, I will definitely stay away. Just be sure, Ben, that you don’t injure any innocent passersby while flexing your ego. That thing is obviously loaded and ready for action.

    I’m probably going to do what my wife did, and just block that OF page. I should have done it already. Life is so much happier when you choose not to share it with paranoid people.

  • “I am a driven alpha male programmed to succeed, work, and continue learning just like most posters on SwampLot. If you dont like what I am saying or think I am insensitive SOB then stay out of my way. The man who is not working must stay out of the way of the man that is!!”
    Can we hang out?

  • East side is heavily hispanic and black. This fact keeps a lot of people from thinking it is safe.

  • > We as a society have propped up
    > underachievers and the lazy to the point of
    > now they are about 50% of our population
    > and outbreeding us 10 to 1.

    Hah, chuckle. Whether Ben is just trolling or not, this is the TP viewpoint.

    I still sometimes hear progessive types saying that they don’t understand how anyone could vote for a troglodyte like Ted “TP” Poe, but it’s all about fear & loathing precipitated by a perceived loss of social status.

    The GOP politicians are happy to take advantage of their constituents by drecting their anger towards members of other tribes (and the more easily identified, the better).

    The trillion dollar question is: does the average TP want to go down in flames, or do they want to participate in the political process? The latter necessitates compromise,which is (needless to say) not the TP’s strong suit.

    What are they building out in thir West Texas compounds? Bombs, or a winning strategy? Only time will tell…

  • Oak Forest residents freaked out after there was a spate of very dangerous driveway robberies this year. Someone was following people home from Kroger or just following them up their driveway. They would ambush people as soon as they got out of there car. The robberies were very aggressive (always had a gun) and were getting violent (one beating and a shot fired in another incident). That is why they hired the security firm and have become uber vigilant on social media.

  • fyi, fifty years ago Oak Forest was awash in shotguns and mixed race kids and it worked out just fine

  • Been in my ward 4 years. 0 problems. What’s really surprising is how quiet it is. I love my house and seeing more people move in and the houses getting built or renovated. Excited about Emancipation Park getting refurbished.

  • Anse – you are so spot on in your comment about what has evolved into a real mess in Oak Forest. There are people that have so exaggerated the crime in OF it is off the charts. I am concerned with the fact that a few have brought in a vigilante group called SEAL and they are armed. The statements that they will only protect those that pay sound Mafioso. IF OFHOSA is sponsoring this, they are liable for that type of bias. I think we need to get a psychiatrist to prescribe tranquilizers to these new residents that are so wildly way out there. I will never go back to the OFHOA Facebook page because they attack anyone not yielding to their nonsense. This sure is fodder for the Houston Chronicle or Houston Press if they are paying attention.
    Truthfully I am embarrassed by their actions and how it affects the neighborhood in general. Those people that are fueling this (and they know who they are) should sell and move to a gated community and leave us in peace.

  • 2nd posting but I was on and came across this interesting story. “STUDY FINDS RACISM, GUN OWNERSHIP LINKED IN U.S.”
    Who would have ever thought? Maybe we would be safer if we all looked like…….you know.


  • My house in Third Ward was burglarized in 2010, shortly after we moved in (we moved in September, they broke in on Christmas eve.) We came home to find that the burglars had tried to pry the doors open with a crowbar, but could not get in that way. So they busted a window and climbed in.

    Once inside, they found that our doors are locked with double dead bolts. So, they couldn’t get OUT through the doors, either. They tried prying them open, this time from inside, but the doors would not budge. They could only take what they could carry out through a broken window, so all we lost were a few laptops, a DVD player, and a backpack. This old house was built to be strong! I get a kick out of imagining them desperately trying to get a door open from the inside, heh.

    Since then we have had no problems at all. I think that break-in was a crime of opportunity, burglars looking for empty houses on Christmas. Our neighbors are friendly and I have never felt unsafe walking around my neighborhood. I cannot say the same for the Heights, Oak Forest, or Montrose, all places I loved living but in which I was regularly harassed on the street. When I lived in the Heights we had an attempted burglary, and when I lived in Oak Forest, there was a drive-by on the house next door and our house was hit. In Montrose street harassment was common and sometimes very scary.