Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bad Neighbors

During my interviews lately, I am meeting a lot of good people in nice houses.
My interview always involves establishing "rapport"--  a mutual respect for the subject of that interview.
The goal is to elicit information and  to assess the credibility of the person I am talking to, which reflects on the credibility of information provided.
So lately...
in the last couple of years...
I am encountering a similar situation which  I now wonder is a trend before I head out for the day.

The scenario goes something like this:
I meet someone in their house somewhere for an interview.
This person lives in a nice, decent house. Often an impressive house, meticulously kept, lots of property, fencing. Almost always a dog or two.

Yet their lovely little house may have a dilapidated, unkempt house  behind it.
Or a property behind it spotted with  trailers.
Often these secret properties are hidden by bushes, walls, fences, even chain links between trees.

Whatever that dark place behind to my subject's property is...
behind the  barbed, or broken wood plank fences, h there are bad people in crack houses or meth labs.
And when those bad people get high at night, like vampires and zombies, they are not good to their neighbors.
So this one man I was interviewing recently,  is a very good person fixing up a foreclosure and living in it during the process. His goal is to turn the property in three months.

It has a backyard retaining wall.
He didn't know, until after he bought the place that behind that retaining wall, is a small house surrounded by multiple trailers occupied by many people.... all related, of all ages, who are allegedly manufacturing crack.
He has since heard them referred to as a crime family.

Though this man I was interviewing, he didn't know how evil they were when he filed one police report against them.
Nor did he realize his identifying information would be on that police report.He has been haunted ever since.
Like a pack of wolves hungry for food at night, this tribe of whacked out, drugged out dope heads wanders by his house, gun their antiquated engines as they drive by the front yard.
And there are other things they do I can not describe here.  The police are doing their best, yet still can do vitually nothing.
They lock some up,
Others stay home and crimes contnue to multiply.
There are bails paid, people released and victims harassed.
Crime is how some families earn their livings.

"What can I I do" he asks me, after I listen to this story and tell him I can see it is getting to him for good reasons.
He lives alone. He's a big tough guy, mid-40's.
The police can only protect him so much.
Once meth and crack kick in, so does the danger.

"Move," I tell him.
"You live alone. Nothing's stopped them.You have cameras, guns, motion detectors, alarm systems, dogs and still these guy are driving you crazy. The police have told you how dangerous they are, they have an investigation underway. Either stay and risk damage or death. Or go. Sell your house, rent your house, walk away from your house... but get away with your life."

I know he wanted to stand his ground. He has every right to.
But why be the lone outpost surrounded by hostiles with no cavalry available?
He was told by the police to just stay away, there's big stuff going down.
When I am advised by a police detective they are looking at the same subject I am on a "higher, inter-organizational, multi-jurisdictional level"....
I am respectfully asked to step away, lest I compromise any ongoing investigation....
I graciously and respectfully step away.
I suggested he do the same.
Truth be told, I have no clue what he will do.
He is stuck between a rock and a hard place in this economy.
Will he be Custer and make his house is last stand?
Or will he retreat, as I have , from a growingly hostile and crowded urban environment.
The same environment I must head back to now on a case...

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