Editor's note: The following is an opinion piece from a Local Voices blogger and does not necessarily reflect the views of Midtown Patch.
You should listen to what goes on in your neighborhood. If you do, I think you may come back with a different point of view, if you feel the coppers are 'not doing enough' to fix 'your issue' du jour.
Your mind will change.
I have listened for several years now. This super bird’s eye view of the neighborhood gives an almost extra dimension of perception in local inter-human activity.
If you listen long enough, you will find there are three very common under-pinning themes to the typical infraction in Midtown. Most interesting is right now, the first five days of the month, especially with a full moon, when the jail empties those who have served their time, and wait for their next turn through the turnstile. You see them coming from the south, with little black plastic dog poop bags, carrying their personal items. Searching for jobs, food or something to steal and resell for food or drugs.
1. Mental Illness. Some people confuse mental health (and its accompanying medical/drug influences) with criminal behavior. This was one of the first programs cut under Reagan austerity eras of 'trimming government fat at the state level.' You get what you pay for. Predictions of jails warehousing patients who have no other adequate support system have come to fruition.
2. Poverty crime. Spangers, panhandlers, copper thieves, unlicensed vendors, car contents harvesters, burglars. This is partially the result of centuries of ignoring or fighting against providing the basic infrastructure of the African American community, the war on some drugs, and a social position that has decimated the 'nuclear family' model of two adults raising children. We used to lament the day when only one parent raised a family. Now it is the grandparents, because everyone has to work to survive.
3. Gang Initiation. Probably most of the smash and grabs, shooting from cars on the Interstate, stick-ups and armed robberies around campus or ass whuppings are a result of gang initiation. See 2 above for root causes.
Crime is not an exclusive 'black thing' in Atlanta but if you listen close enough to the officers dispatched all over Midtown, you can hear the echoes of the past. The smoke filled back rooms of Georgia power brokers long dead, sweaty white suits and string ties, sipping whiskey and lamenting the Grande Old South. Men, determined to put The Negro back in his place, wherever that was.
Listen to the scanner. Listen to the sound of crime. While it foretells incidents of the present, it also invokes the sins of the past. And right now, each of us is living with that past.
It is what we do now, that determines our future. What kind of neighborhood do you want in 10 years?