There’s been an upsurge of crime in the neighborhood lately, or so it seems, thanks to each misdeed reported on the listservs and blogs—mailboxes jimmied, cars vandalized, even an armed robbery over on Coleridge in daylight. One of the neighbors pointed out that in days of yore, before Bernal became the cutest, most desirable place on the planet, back in the time when there were projects on Army Street, criminal activity was common: “tire slashing, muggings, burglaries, graffiti tagging, you name it”. A Neighborhood Watch was formed. The projects came down and crime did too. The Neighborhood Watch dissolved from lack of relevance.
In the listserv there is consternation, not to say rage. Those bastards (genotype: masculine, young, and other) will not get away with it, though it seems they have. Beliefs and assumptions proliferate, and cries arise, put cameras on your houses, motion-detecting lights. Should I mention that the motion-detecting light on Coso Street half way up the block makes me want to take a baseball bat to it in the nicest possible way every time I pass? Probably not.
One of the neighbors has offered to help other neighbors install similar lights. When I walk down the new Mirabel Avenue and a concatenation of lights gets triggered, I might imagine myself as paparazzi bait on a Hollywood red carpet. Ready for my close-up. Or else I might think I’m on a perp walk.
The police get called, and the police respond. When my house was broken into (it certainly does feel shitty) thankfully years ago, there were fingerprints all over the place but so what? The detective said forget about it. It was petty theft. A television, a watch, some other stuff I don’t even remember. The thieves also took the blanket Richy bought me in Scotland, no doubt using it to wrap the stuff up to carry. I still miss that blanket. It was better than the womb.
The police respond. Last week Alejandro Nieto was killed sitting on a bench on the hill eating chips. The cops responded to a panicky call about a man with a gun. Four officers shot at him. They supposedly thought he was pointing the gun at them. He didn’t have a gun. He had a taser. Whether he was pointing it at them is questionable. His friends said he’d never do something so stupid. He was a trained security guard.