If the phrase "Coming to an neighborhood near you" sounds familiar, it's probably because you read about it HERE. A while back, I mentioned that crime will go to places where "the gettin' is good", and lately, in Fort Wayne, that would appear to be on the NORTH east side (as opposed to the SOUTH east side).
In Today's Journal-Gazette, there's a pretty decent article about the RISING crime along East State Blvd.
Business robberies are leading the field, as is always the case.
And it's a pattern that's ALL too familiar to those that still live (or USED to live) on the southeast side of the city.
Here's a link to the entire story:
When I read the headline (yeah, it DID make the FRONT page), the only thing I could say to the missus was: "Why does this NOT surprise me?" I mean it's not as though this is EXACTLY the same pattern that has been going on all over the SE side for decades.
In just the last 12 years (the time since I moved here from Philly), I have seen this type of thing repeated over and over...with the predictable results. And now it's come to those neighborhoods farther NORTH.
Well, be honest now, it really HAD to happen. You KNOW it.
The SE side has seen SUCH decline in businesses over the years, that the robbers HAVE to go elsewhere for their brand of "entertainment".
MY part of town ALONE has seen close to SEVENTY businesses (and still counting) up and LEAVE the area (and way too many good people and neighbors as well).
But the city did see fit to provide us with a Wal-Mart and Menards, to satisfy the "new" citizenry that has all but taken over a once nice section of Fort Wayne. That still doesn't bode well for businesses that are teetering on the brink of leaving.
And there are many, trust me.
Now, let me "splain" how this all works...
When criminals decide to "claim" a part of their turf (read city neighborhoods), the FIRST thing they need to do is establish some "cred", and the BEST way to manage that is to ROB BUSINESSES.
THAT will get them the "attention" they crave, and will serve notice to business owners that they now have a target painted on their backs.
Those that cannot "adapt" to this new way of life will up and close their doors.
Those that DO adapt will take sterner measures to thwart robberies, and that means daring to shoot at these thugs, but theses owners are all too few. People would rather be left alone to conduct business, rather than set the stage for confrontations that could lead to gun play or death.
And who can blame them?
All these owners want to do is run their establishments.
I've never known ANYONE in business to LOSE MONEY, GET ROBBED, or GET SHOT. They are in business to provide services or provide needed items or supplies.
Curiously, the customers that used to frequent these places will undoubtedly be put off by the robberies, and overall business will suffer.
Houses around these businesses go up for sale; people move out.
The neighborhood declines, and eventually, even the most stalwart business owner will have to decide if "it's all worth it".
Many will leave...few will remain.
Score one for the criminals.
Sadly, this is the scenario we see repeated every day in cities across America.
Funny, but if more action was taken regarding smaller crimes (such as NOISE from car stereos, window tints, mufflers, etc), along with stricter enforcement of city ordinances and guidelines for everyone, then it would make perpetrating the larger crimes a,lot more uncomfortable for these thugs.
You give criminals a PLACE TO PLAY...and they WILL.
And THAT you CAN take to the bank, people!
Now folks will say that it's the ECONOMY driving all of this, and they'd be right...to a point.
(although crime actually went DOWN overall during the Great Depression, but they don't want us to KNOW that)
It's not so much the ACTUAL economy, as the criminals who can READ the economy, and take advantage of it.
These thugs are not the idiots we think they are, in spite of having most of them drop the hell out of school. They have "street-smarts", and that's more valuable than a proper education when it comes to "hostile takeovers" in neighborhoods.
Call it a "poor man's Wall St", if you will.
How can all this be halted?
Good question, and one that I have very few answers for, save arming up the citizenry, and barricading ourselves behind ballistic glass and armored shutters. But we see that in OTHER cities...it shouldn't happen HERE, right?
Well, get used to it. This wave of crime is coming like a jail on wheels.
And I said it was...a long time ago.
City leaders across the nation seek to figure out WHY their downtown is not thriving. Well, that answer is as simple as looking at your WORST area in town. You let THAT area go to hell in a hand basket, and you're ASKING to see your tax revenues go down the crapper, along with a LOT of your business owners and tax-paying citizenry.
When poverty becomes the universal buzzword for EVERY ill suffered by mankind, we delude ourselves.
It's not about POVERTY...and it's never really EVER about poverty.
It's about people that CLAIM poverty, while preying on those that produce the revenues that FUND programs designed to REDUCE poverty (through entitlements). And that's just plain STUPID.
Those that rob these businesses cry "poverty" out one side of their criminal mouths, while laughing at those handing out the relief TO that poverty out the other.
It's time to make those who are guilty PAY (back) that which they have (for so long) misappropriated from the rest of us.
And when that happens, once blighted areas that have lost businesses will indeed see a revival.
Nothing short of that action will suffice, and only serve to perpetuate the criminal element into even more areas of a city.
But it's not like we, on the SE side have seen any of this...have we?
Lightning is striking twice in Fort Wayne.
And we can all see more BROKEN WINDOWS.