Friday, October 9, 2009

The Good and the Bad

The good news is, I've almost finished the book I told you about yesterday and its really good. It's certainly made for a fascinating read and given me a much more in-depth understanding of what New Orleans was like in the days and months immediately following Katrina, as well as the struggles the city is still facing even today.

The bad news is, after reading the book I'm now a tiny bit terrified of going out in the city by myself. The crime (and by crime I'm mostly referring to murder) rate skyrocketed after the storm, making this the deadliest city in the country. It even earned the nickname of Murder Capital of America for crying out loud! What's really scary is that while those rates have dropped substantially in the past year or so, they're still just ridiculously high--especially for a city this size. I knew when we moved here the city had its problems but gee oh! I didn't know we were moving into a war zone.

This newly acquired knowledge of the dark underbelly of NOLA was fresh on my mind when I was leaving the house for work this morning so it played in nicely to the fact that apparently, our next door neighbors got robbed last night. Our landlord (who lives in a different house on the same property as ours) was outside and told me all the details he knew which admittedly, weren't many. All we really know is that someone broke into the neighbors' house last night and basically cleaned them out. The police haven't caught whoever did it; I don't even know if our neighbors were home at the time but luckily I don't believe anyone was hurt.

So yeah. I'm spooked. And that makes me mad. We live in a nice neighborhood. The place we're renting is not cheap but we agreed we were both willing to pay a little more to have the security of living somewhere we felt safe. We live right smack dab in the middle of Uptown, about a mile from Tulane's campus. This isn't poor, run-down student housing either. This is a neighborhood of the big, old Garden District homes most of which security systems and iron fences around them. I would have thought such things would be at least a slight deterrent to criminals, wouldn't you? I mean I know we're probably not dealing with brain surgeons here but goodness...

I do take comfort in the fact that our house sits on the property behind the main house, so you can't see it at all from the road. Someone who has never been there wouldn't know our house even exists. Plus, the entire yard is surrounded by a fence that gets locked at night.

It irritates me to no end to feel like I'm not safe in my own neighborhood. I was hesitant to move here because of all the crime but once we did, I promised myself I wasn't going to live in fear for the whole 3+ years we're here. I know it's good to have a big healthy dose of caution but I ought to be able to walk to the mailbox without worrying about getting mugged. I don't think that's unreasonable.

I talked to some people at work today about all this and they suggested getting a can of MACE to keep with me at all times. I haven't decided how I feel about this yet. One one hand that seems like an unnecessary overreaction but on the other...well...maybe not such a bad idea.

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