Neighbors for Neighbors

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Car Break-in on Jamaica Street, and what is happening to my (formerly?) beloved neighborhood?

Last night, my girlfriend's car got broken into on Jamaica Street. Jamaica is a quiet, one-way street off of South Street which is generally peaceful and family oriented. The thieves broke in by manipulating the driver's (street) side window so it came off its track and rummaged around but didn't find anything worth stealing. The car is a 1994 Honda Civic sh*tbox that obviously didn't have anything valuable in it. Perhaps they wanted to steal the vehicle for parts, but she had an ignition disabler installed.
I've lived in JP for about ten years, and this past year I've had my apartment broken into during broad daylight, losing not only my laptop and assorted material items that I worked and saved up for, but the sense of security and happiness that living in JP held for me. The police didn't seem overly interested in solving this crime, and scoffed at the suggestion that they take fingerprints of the window that the criminals clearly used as a point of entry. Multiple friends of mine have had their cars broken into and/or things stolen off of their cars (Thule racks, spoilers, etc.) in fairly "nice" sections of JP. All of this, plus the obvious proliferation of gang violence, is really making me think twice about living in JP. Ten years ago, I would walk from the Midway to Forest Hills at 1am and feel totally fine about it. Now? No way. What is happening to our neighborhood and how can we fix it? I'm at the point where I'd welcome Guliani in to clean up, and I hate that guy and everything he stands for. But I hate getting violated, shot at and robbed more.

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Comment by Quinn on October 27, 2010 at 11:22am
Here's the thing. I don't want to live in an unsafe place where it is likely enough that my belongings will be stolen that it doesn't qualify as news. Your acceptance of the status quo is depressing, and it makes total sense. But I don't want to give up, I want a neighborhood where people DO get upset when their neighbors are routinely robbed.
As for Jackson Square, I didn't seek to be constructive with my comment. It's how I see the area, a place that was getting better and is now back on the decline. Its flagship business, Bella Luna, has been gone for a year and a half and the empty storefronts in that block are less than inspiring. Again, I don't want to give up on that spot either, but it sure does feel bleak.
Comment by Eric on October 27, 2010 at 12:26am
Hm, well I wouldn't classify what I was saying as being "forgiving." I've tried to think of other ways to say this but here it is in a blunt way, car break-in's really aren't news in JP. They are unpleasant, they make people justifiably irate and we should work towards making them less common but they aren't a new development here. How anyone wants to feel about that is up to them.

As for Jackson Square, I'm not so sure how describing it as a "vacant pit just waiting to re-explode with crime" is constructive. There are people working hard to develop that area and it's a bit dismissive towards people who are making concrete actual steps there to try to improve a neighborhood.
Comment by Quinn on October 26, 2010 at 7:48pm
I appreciate your comment, Eric. I wish I could be so forgiving. You're right, the economy sucks and people are struggling. But that's no excuse for stealing and being a criminal. We're all struggling. The car they broke into was a 94 Civic, we're obviously not rich! And there was nothing in her car- her radio faceplate was off and there weren't GPS marks on the windshield or anything like that.

I also don't think we need to accept that cars get broken into in our neighborhood. If this sort of thing is going on, police patrols should be stepped up, and neighbors mobilized to avoid the situation Katina went through and to let these lowlifes know they can't mess with our community and steal the stuff we worked hard to get. I'm so frustrated at this point though, getting the motivation to mobilize neighbors isn't easy.

I think it's the aggregate that's making me feel the way I do. People are killing each other in Egleston in broad daylight, thieves have carte blanche to steal whatever from us without consequences, Jackson Square is a vacant pit just waiting to re-explode with crime, and it just feels bleak.
Comment by Eric on October 26, 2010 at 6:30pm
I would be very angry if my home was broken into or had my rims stolen, up on blocks. I can only imagine how unsettling the thought of someone having broken into your home is and the latter is not only infuriating but incredibly costly to deal with.

I know we've had a slight uptick in burglaries in most parts of the city and JP as well. The economy is not well and with that comes a lot of social ills. The recent spate of gang violence in Jackson and Egleston is deplorable. A few horrible people are creating tons of problems there for the people who live there.

I've lived in JP for five years. Three years ago my car was broken into twice in only a few months and then demolished in a hit and run. To be honest, car break-ins seem par for the course all over JP, especially with the amount of people who leave interesting things in their car. My dumb move was having an aftermarket stereo from 1997. That's what they took. You never know. But breaking into cars happens here and will continue to happen.

I haven't had any issues since in the same neighborhood. I've seen over the years an occasional car on blocks with rims gone. Last summer West Roxbury and Roslindale had a spree of these. It sucks. It's one of the reasons I have wheel locks (although from what I've read if someone wants your wheels, they'll get them.)

The roof rack thefts seem to be a new development, though...I wonder how they're pulling that off.

But I don't feel this sense of "what's happening???" dread and that's not to diminish your anger because it's justified and personal and I understand. I just don't feel it.
Comment by katina merino on October 26, 2010 at 3:49pm
I feel the same way... I don't know what the hell is going on

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