LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

Razor wire, barbwire, chain link fences, plexiglas


When you see the above-mentioned words, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The first thing these words brought to my mind was black neighborhoods.  It really bother me to drive through many commercial/business areas adjacent to predominately black neighborhoods and see many of them enclosed in chain link fencing-some topped with razor wire.   To top that off, many have ferocious dogs guarding the establishments after closing time.  I went into a well-known tire business and the sales personnel were packing weapons.  Many businesses, especially service stations checkout counters are encased in thick bulletproof Plexiglas. 

What possess these businesses to take these precautions?  Are they afraid that someone will take their property or even their lives? Do they mistrust the very people who frequent their establishments? Do they feel that they have located their businesses in communities where thievery is the rule, rather than the exception?  What are the feelings of those who frequent and do businesses with establishments that show how little they trust them? Is this mistrust warranted?

People who create this environment and mentality in neighborhoods do not understand the enormity of the damage they are causing.  People of means, shopping for homes are not likely to consider purchasing one in areas blighted with chain link fencing topped with barb and razor wire.  Some people, tired of the daily commute want to relocate to the inner city are reluctant to do so because of what the fencing and Plexiglas suggest about a community.  Many entrepreneurs seeking to open or expand their businesses do not view these locations as areas of opportunity.  Home and auto insurance are higher in these areas.  Longtime residents, the backbone of communities, give up, sell their homes, and move to areas they feel are safer. Many residents spend several hundred dollars per year installing and monitoring security devices in their homes and automobiles. When one walks or drives through these areas, there is a feeling of heighten-awareness and deepening apprehension-especially at night. 

The mentalities of those who reside in these neighborhoods have an enormous impact on the schools therein. These areas lose many people with good paying jobs that support the tax system that support schools and other public infrastructures.  Many school systems lose good teachers and administrators because they have a difficult time dealing with the attitude of some of the parents and children who live therein.  Many of these school systems are staffed with junior teachers. Once adequately seasoned to deal with the day-to-day grind of teaching in this environment, they are burned out and seek to relocate to areas where there is less stress. 

The propensity to toss trash about indiscriminately is obvious in these areas. Conspicuously located trash containers means little to many who live or commute through these neighborhoods.  Look at bus stops. There are trash containers, but many chose to toss their garbage on the ground. Chicken bones, cigarette butts, fast food and beverage containers of all sorts-including alcoholic beverage bottles and cans litter many areas.  Lottery tickets and scratch off losers casually tossed about blight some areas. 

Folks, I am talking about a mind-set-a way of thinking that says I really do not care a whole lot about this community. As long as I can behave almost anyway I want to, I am satisfied. I am talking about the inability of individuals to recognize the negative impact that they have on a community. I am talking about the inability of those who support the community with tax dollars and businesses to control the behavior in the community.  Chain link fences complete with barb and razor wire may offer some security, but it just make those who are determined to take, work a little harder. It is imperative that we change their mind-set. They must be made to realize that earning what one gets in not a bad thing.  As a matter of fact this is suppose to be the norm rather than the exception.

What alternatives do the business owners have to installing wire fences and Plexiglas? Some hire private security personnel. Others employ off-duty uniformed law-enforcement officers. Security is a large part of the operating costs of businesses. This cost will continue to grow, unless the mentality of those who seek to take advantage of businesses changes.

If you really want to know how residents feel about the appearance of their neighborhood, try to get a group together to pick up the trash. The turnout is dismal. The sense of community has been lost and replaced with apathy and self-interest. The idea of participation in community events related to its upkeep escapes many.  They fail to see the impact of their non-participation on their children.  Their children grow up thinking that family’ obligations to communities stops at property lines. 


October 13, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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