Category Archives: Neighborhood action

vision for Brookland Park Boulevard

There have been many plans hatched (and, subsquently, never developed) for Richmond’s Brookland Park Boulevard. Most of these plans have been for a grand redevelopment without the necessary funding or even a startup plan. It’s time for something a bit smaller in which the entire community can participate (read: volunteer for a day) to make the Boulevard a better place.

In November, I read this story, in which the first example showcases local residents who painted murals of viable storefronts and restaurants on their neglected business corridor, and within a year, it came true.

Recently, and more locally, Richmond’s Storefront for Community Design worked with local associations to brighten up sections of business corridors. Style Weekly highlights the work that was done on one block of Broad Street here.

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do it yourself

When a local government failed to complete much needed road repairs, one man took it upon himself to take on the responsibility. See story here.

power of one person

Here is a story of how one man used his wealth to benefit his town, and stop the trend of blight from eroding it.

the 10 p.m. rule

The 10 p.m. rule is followed pretty universally in my neighborhood.  Even drug dealers, now fewer and farther between, respect the 10 p.m. rule.  As our houses are foursquare, and mostly stucco, noise can be an issue through the permeable walls.  Our hood is quiet after 10 p.m.  There may be the occasional boom-boom car, but you can expect to enjoy a good night’s sleep here. 

Much to my dismay, I was at a porch party recently and it took a few of us neighbors to quiet a couple people from other Richmond neighborhoods!  If a drug dealer can follow the 10 p.m. rule, then surely anyone (no matter the BAC level) can follow this rule.  This was a first for a few of us who have, in the past, griped about loud cars, fights from a now-closed club, and loud dealers on the street.  Now, we have to worry about people we are inviting to our own parties!  Go figure…

it requires community action

And, this apparently means acting beyond simply calling the police.  I hope this neighborhood is able to keep the enthusiasm and courage going.

how to: community action to get rid of drug houses

I had my “aha” moment last week when debating how to get rid of the new drug activity on my street.  As you can probably tell, I am learning a lot of this as I go.  I am not new to living near crime that is open, but, more recently as an adult, I have chosen to 1. live in a racially and economically diverse neighborhood and 2. to help improve the neighborhood by attempting to improve some of the blight issues.  For those who question blight, let me clearly define these “blight” issues: dilapidated housing (usually owned by slumlords in my neighborhood), crimes against persons, property crime, and activity that leads to such crime (yes, a drug house usually meets this criteria). 

If you are in a similar situation, I highly recommend reading the attached article.  I have been frustrated, to a point, because I had been giving police information on the local drug houses with little effect.  Since the original drug house on my street is no longer active, and I have been here for a few years, I decided it was time to be a bit more aggressive.  I am no longer the “new guy” on my street, and I have managed to garner support since our street has become pretty safe and quiet.  Apparently, most of the residents like it that way. 

This is an easily-read article, and discusses a few different cases that used different methods to shut down these houses.  None of these cases used police as the primary method for getting rid of this crime. 

Smoking them out; how to close down a crack house in your neighborhood.

what would you do to get rid of a crack house?

Since the advent of the crack house on my street, we have had a robbery and a property crime within a month’s span (and, no, this is not the norm).  Does anyone have suggestions as to how to get rid of this house, which is attracting new criminals to make use of my street?  Keep in mind that we may not get real help from the Special Investigation Division of our PD.  Any suggestions are welcome!

UPDATE:  After taking a leap and speaking with the owner of the house, it does appear that he has spoken with the renter.  There was no drug traffic over the weekend.  Another neighbor on that block is planning on sending an anonymous letter soon, just to ensure that the halt on drug trafficking there isn’t temporary.