Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The extremely difficult problem of illegal drug activity in public housing

This is one of the worst problems residents have to deal with because violent reactions can so easily be the response if you say anything about what you see or hear, either to that person or anyone else. But what do you do when a resident living so close to you, opposite your door, appears to be in the throes of a drug addiction, hearing noises, working himself up to the point of pounding on your door and shouting your name? Leaving irrational threatening notes on your door. I have been the victim of men in an alcoholic psychosis, but do not have very much experience with drug addicts hallucinating this close up.
I have gone and talked to the new chairman of the Tenants' Organization. She ran last year and lost so she is already the veteran of a lot of fights. She said my neighbor has left a number of abusive notes on her door because she told him he had not been a resident here long enough to run as chairman. I know he took great offense to this. She also alarmed me by telling me he had been involved with 17 women in here since he moved in here, some of whom claimed rape. I did not know about the claims of rape, but it figures that once he got in the door he would not leave until his mission was accomplished. He may not have thought it was rape, but if they did that is enough for me. He used to talk about his conquests and I was perturbed because these were generally all from the ranks of the mentally ill. I felt he was acting like this was the happy hunting grounds. I said as much as I could to him about this being excessive behavior on his part. Well, it seems I have made him angry, and he has been brooding about it for several months, and so was striking back. In fact another woman told me today he got mad at me for having the nerve to ask him if he was on drugs. He said, everybody in here is on drugs. She said she said, "I am not. I know a lot of people in here who are not." She pointed to scars on her forehead saying to me, "Crack cocaine did this to me." A guy on crack cocaine beat her with a baseball club and she was in a coma for 3 weeks. That is why she is disabled and in here. She also said Scott was verballyabusive to her after she dated him. I saw him be cruel to her. He said she was a nut case and he didn't want any more to do with her. This is pretty much what he has said about all the ones he loved and left and talked about. This was when we were 'friends.' But I still thought he was a southern gentleman then. But that was before I think he found a drug connection.
He asked me to let him check his e-mails on my computer once when the video library one for tenants was down, and after he asked me twice, I let him, but did not like how he acted in my apartment, sort of I don't know too silent and unnatural acting, so I said to him that the library offered these services and made up my mind to deny him access to mine if he asked me again. It is no wonder I don't let these young guys or hardly any other resident in my apartment I hardly let Doc because he can't drink here. My apartment is my safe refuge, and now it doesn't seem too safe.
But on the other hand if residents I think are drug dealers are running up and down outside my door knocking on his, I am probably going to say something to make somebody mad. The way he is acting now is just why I don't want any resident in here selling drugs. These drug dealing residents are irresponsible and breaking the law, and it looks like old ladies have to get involved in stopping them whether they want to or not. Just to protect the environment where they live before every public housing complex including this one goes to hell.
When I was on the west side we residents met the police to try to clean up that HUD complex and the one next to it which was privately owned. A new owner had agreed to cooperate and started to evict the gangs. Men with machine guns were going up and down my stairs. I was scared to death when I saw them. We complained to management and she said to document and to turn in reports if we wanted the resident who they were seeing evicted. A week or so later the guys with the machine guns shot 5 people to a party, killing 2 of them. When the shooter was finally caught he committed suicide in front of the arresting cop.
When our reports got the violent woman evicted upstairs, she screamed that she would come back and shoot us all in a drive by. A big gun battle erupted one night right in front of my apartment and I saw a guy shot and fall down. The woman around in front had her windows shot in two different places. On the weekends that place was like I imagine a city like Beirut must be. There was always gun fire and we called the police constantly and would go to the hallway and sit down on the floor when the shooting started.
I saw another gun battle where 32 shells were found in the side street out in front of my apartment alone. Cops were all over the place. This was two gangs fighting. I could tell you stories of other shootings and murders, mostly over drugs.
This complex I live in now is the least violent I have lived in, but my income did not cover rent and utilities. I got a very low disability. My two youngest kids and I had to live in public housing for women and kids, which are ironically some of the most violent in the nation I believe.
The first one I lived in was even more frightening. I fled it in two months and went to Utah for a while, but had to come back to Arizona eventually to try to find work when I recovered enough I thought I could hold down a job. I had been disabled with a bout of chronic fatigue for 3 years. I was only able to work 4 more years before becoming too disabled to hold a job.
Public housing gets rife with illegal drug activity unless management and residents are alert and fight it. We had a notorious woman drug dealer living in the complex where I lived 13 years most of the time. She went to Mexico for drugs, and once she did not go and her ex husband who always went with her was murdered, so she hid out for quite a while. When she started coming out in public again, a guy walked up to the guy she was talking to in a bar and shot him in cold blood. I had known her and all her kids for years. My grandchild I tended played with her grandchild.
We always had to think about what to do about illegal drug activity and the violence it engenders. How to fight it. How to keep our complex safe to live in at all.


salemslot9 said...

I bet you
already make sure
your door is locked
I wouldn't let
anyone inside your
apartment, either
maybe, at least
when you're with Doc
he can walk you back home
hope they get rid
of that loser, soon said...

Drugs seem to be the culprit in so much violent behavior. You don't know how much is coming from the individual or how much is drugs or alcohol, but the violence is fueled.

Missie said...

I think we'd all be blown away if we knew how many people around us have a drug problem.

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon

Thanks for writing this blog, loved reading it

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post, greetings from Greece!

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Awesome blog, great write up, thank you!


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