Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Living with crime in Brevard County

In the Baymeadows subdivision in Melbourne, them streets is hard.

I've witnessed some gruesome things in some tough cities.

I saw a drunken homeless man get nailed by car in Philadelphia. I saw a 7-Eleven clerk get assaulted in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington. I saw a woman walk out of a Dunkin' Donuts without paying for her Coolatta in Manhattan.

But this weekend, crime hit home.

When I got back from work Saturday night, a message from the roommate asked me to park my Chevy Prizm on the street. He wanted to remove an old refrigerator from the garage in the morning.

So I backed my vehicle from its covered safe haven. When I walked away from it, I thought I should check to see if it was locked. But why bother? Nothing bad would happen on the one night since I moved here that I parked my car outside, right?

When I awoke in the morningafternoon, my roommate was searching for his wallet. We checked under the couch, in the couch, in the trash, in the sink, on top of the refrigerator, in the refrigerator. Nothing. He checked his car. Nothing. But he noticed a few items inside his new Dodge Magnum that were out of place.

We were firmly in denial of what took place, so we concluded that he had left his wallet at his girlfriend's place. No need to worry.

Then the doorbell rang.

I opened the door. It was a sweaty woman in running shorts. "Who lives here?" she said. We told her. Then, she presented my roommate with his Social Security card. She had found it while jogging past our house. And it confirmed our deepest fears: His car had been burglarized.

Luckily, the paper card was the most valuable thing in his wallet. His plastic cards and various IDs could be replaced. And nothing on his online bank statement flagged any use of his credit cards.

But oh no. What about my car?

I checked it. It was locked. Phew. My two cameras and my GPS unit were spared.

But the ordeal was a bucket of water in the face. When I went for a jog yesterday, I noticed the shady characters who had been roaming the neighborhood since I moved here.

A boy in a tattered tank top rumbled down the street on a skateboard decked with subwoofers. He formed his fingers into the shape of a handgun, and he pulled the trigger.

A Vietnam vet-looking dude in a cowboy hat and aviators rolled over the crosswalk with a guitar slung on the back of his wheelchair. I'm sure the instrument carried bags of crack.

A woman in high heels and a short skirt meandered down the sidewalk, likely tired after a long night on the job as a prostitute.

The ground was littered with tops from fast-food soda cups. Stuck through them were straws that could double as needles with which to shoot drugs through the nose or as barrels with which to shoot spitballs at rival gangsters.

And I'm sure the Starbucks being constructed in my neighborhood will prove an inconspicuous hangout for gunslingers and weed dealers.

This 'hood is going to pot. Literally.

But I'm a man of faith, and I know that if I keep that faith, I will be safe. This neighborhood will experience a resurgence. If it doesn't, I'll leave.

So, pray for me. Pray for everyone in the Baymeadows subdivision.


shoyu said...

I'm surprised your car did not get stripped or set afire.

Tim Robertson said...

Andy -- You should be reading your old papers! http://www.newsday.com/news/local/crime/ny-ligps0209,0,199992.story

Wordnerdy said...

Please. That's nothing. You obviously could not handle Jacksonville, murder capital of Florida.