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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Perhaps Not So Safe After All

Having lived in lily-white, oh-so-gentrified Woodley Park for several years now, I've developed a certain level of complacency regarding the safety of my neighborhood. It's rare that I feel unsafe walking the streets alone at night and I would certainly never think that anyone would deliberately do harm to my home or my possessions. This is not to say that I write to you from a position of great material wealth. As I've stated before, I'm merely a financially humble writer who happened to have lucked-out by finding a really inexpensive group living situation in a nice neighborhood. For that I am grateful. Having witnessed some truly horrible things happen to friends living in less-safe areas of the city in the recent past, I constantly marvel at my good fortune to live where I do. Yeah, our house is a little tattered and old but there's a roof over our heads and the only time somebody unwelcome ever intruded was a while back when somebody forgot to lock the door and a drunk ex-paramour stumbled in looking for a safe place to crash for the night.

Yet recently, it seems that we cannot have UPS packages delivered to our door without them go missing. Last week my mother sent me a box of stuff she no longer wanted that she thought I could make use of. The contents of the box totaled about 600 dollars in value. I didn't need them, but was looking forward to having them. It should have arrived by now. She had the package tracked and according to UPS, it was already delivered.

I wrote my roommates to make sure none of them had brought it in and I had somehow overlooked it. One of them responded to say that a similar thing happened to him about a month ago. Now that I think about it, I clearly remember seeing a car parked on the street outside our house last week or the week before with one of its windows smashed in.

Until today I have definitely taken the relative safety of my neighborhood for granted. In fact, I have probably tested the limits of our comparative lack of crime for far too long. This is not to say that I am claiming that Woodley Park is experiencing some sort of terrible crime wave, nor do I want to sound like some uptight yuppie bemoaning the theft of her pottery barn delivery. I know I am lucky to live where I live. I realize that I still have it pretty good.

But let this be a lesson to all of us. Sometimes the beauty and calm of a neighborhood can imbue its residents with a false sense of security.

From now on, I'm having all my packages sent to my work address. And hopefully whoever has my box truly needed it more than I did.

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Blogger Alex said...

Often times these mini crime waves in a neighborhood Iare caused by a single person. He gets nabbed, the thefts are stopped. He gets back out again, it starts all over.

It might be fun trying to catch him... get a cheap little webcam, put out a package as bait, see who shows up.

And on the plus side, crimes against property are much better than crimes against people...

7:17 PM  
Blogger TravelGirlDC said...

I moved into a doorman building just so I would have someone sign for packages. They sign and log every package which makes me very happy. Yes, I pay in rent for such a service. A doorman building doesn't eliminate theft but I hope it at least deters it a bit. Next time have packages shipped to your office, if you can.

9:16 PM  
Blogger E :) said...

I lost a birthday present last year because someone stole it from within my apartment building when it was sitting outside my door. Thankfully it had been ordered by my family from a company and their insurance paid, but UPS totally sucks. They never follow directions - I had the package delivery address changed to my work and they still delivered it to home.

12:40 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

This is why, this is why... Virginia's hot.

Well, parts.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Ryane said...

HP: I live (probably) near to you in Cleveland Park and the same thing has been happening up my way, as well. Like you, I am not bemoaning the crime--I am lucky to live where I do...but it does make me stop and think. No where is really 'safe'...

11:56 AM  
Anonymous zandria said...

That is awful, awful, awful. Packages delivered to my apartment are supposed to be held at the rental office, but sometimes they leave them outside my door. I've never had anything go missing yet (not that I know of, at least), but it's definitely not a good place for them to hang out. :)

5:41 PM  

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