Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fallout from the Housing Crisis or Karma?

I truly believe in Karma. Not in a overly new age hippy way, but I do subscribe to the belief that what you put out is what you get back. When I was younger I did not hold this belief and lived my life accordingly. But, as I’ve aged like the fine wine that I am, I have made decisions and dealt with people in a manner that is as honest and non destructive as humanly possible (sometimes fall out is unavoidable but I do my best to make it as small as I can). I think some of my earlier years are catching up to me though.

Recently our neighborhood has seen a rise in crime. My husband has lived here for over 10 years and though the neighborhood has changed rapidly due to the recession he has been slow to catch up. Feeling safe and usually being completely distracted (a phone grows out of his ear from morning till night) Dave had been less than vigilant with locking our cars. Now, he has done so in the past with no repercussions but in the last 2 years someone has marked our cars as easy targets (duh) and taken advantage. We have had about 5 “get ins” (cannot call them break ins when you leave it unlocked) which resulted in the theft of a wallet, GPS device, jewelry, and other little shit which didn’t matter. Though I was perplexed and felt completely violated I have started to think it might be Karma having her PMS revenge on my husband and I for past actions. As teenagers we both shoplifted. We never stole from an individual deciding instead to “stick it to the man” and steal from large stores. I don’t think we realized until later that shoplifting affects everyone because it costs the stores which in turn costs everyone. Needless to say, these actions were a part of our history and we learned valuable lessons from committing our petty crimes. We both ended our thieving ways before entering our twenties but, Karma, being the vengeful and lazy bitch that she is, seems to be paying us back now. The losses we’ve had hurt but if this is Karma, we have accepted our medicine and now are vigilant about our cars and belongings. We repent our sins.

I mentioned previously that it might be Karma because my second thought (and what I feel is the more solid theory) is that maybe these incidents aren’t Karma but the unmentioned after effects of the foreclosure boom. The reason I think this is because these thefts are happening to those who remember to lock up their shit as well as those of us that don’t. A recent example is my neighbor across the street took his son camping this past weekend and someone stole his box trailer from up the street. These fools pulled up with a truck and hooked that bad boy up rolling away like they owned the shit. My neighbor is the nicest guy and that trailer has been in this hood for years so why the hell now? Is Karma rearing her ugly head at our neighborhood collectively or has the explosion of renters and short sale procurements brought an element to our neighborhood for which none of us are prepared?

I am in no way saying all  renters and people lucky enough to swoop up a 250,000 dollar home for 50,000 are bad people. In fact, until I married Dave I was a permanent renter with no hope of ever owning anything (husband numero uno was not a productive team member). What I am saying is that the renters and short sale buyers we’ve seen move into our area recently are less than impressive folks (of ALL races). They’re the type of people who do not care for their yards or their children. They are folks who move 25 people into a single family residence and then take up all available parking. They are couples who move in with their teenage children then seem to disappear leaving said teens to roam freely into all hours of the night. It is a diverse yet disappointing group of newbies to say the least.

Since we live in Las Vegas many would think the criminal element would be everywhere but I have to tell you that the area we live in is pretty (or was) quiet until this whole recession debacle hit. Now we have thefts, loud people hanging out on the street behind our house at midnight, and beat downs of the poor old dude that works graveyard at the gas station on the corner. That is why I wonder if everything is Karma or if the news and government has left out a very important repercussion of the housing crisis.

If all of the bad juju was limited to my husband and I, I would attribute it completely to Karma but since it’s spreading like crabs in a nightclub bathroom stall I am beginning to think we need to get our move on. We have always discussed buying property and building our own little compound but it seems some unknown force is pushing us to stop discussing and start doing. It’s sad when having neighbors becomes the plague and all you dream of is enough property to separate yourself from everyone and anyone around you. To get your house far enough off the street and your property wall tall enough to block out the world at large so you can keep safe those possessions you may have forgotten to lock up but did not forget to PAY FOR. What happened to the days of neighborhood barbeques and occasional egg loans? Evidently our neighborhood has traded those days in for petty larceny and geriatric bullying.

What do you think? Karma or social deterioration brought about by the sudden easy access of shady individuals to quiet, law abiding neighborhoods?


BigGiantHat said...

I have to say that I totally agree -- and it is very scary. Something has changed. People seem more tense, some are more agressive and so many seem to have ~less~ impulse control.

Desperation, maybe?

I keep hoping we will turn the corner and things will get back to 'normal'. I am fearful that it is not going to happen soon enough :(.

Great, thoughtful post.

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