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Prejudice, or just a mistake?

This is my neighborhood.  No junked out cars, nice homes, one apartment where I live.  Does this look like the ghetto to you?
This is my neighborhood. No junked out cars, nice homes, one apartment where I live. Does this look like the ghetto to you?
Van James, Poverty Examiner

Just yesterday we had a lot of commotion in my neighborhood on Second and Emerson. It seems like there has been some news coverage about some recent events that have happened in and around this neighborhood. The liquor store being robbed, the Wells Fargo Bank, as well as some other problems. Today I am putting aside my reports on poverty in Idaho to talk about the reports made by some of the police here.

Caleb James did a good story about what is really happening in this neighborhood, but unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough coverage, so I want to say a few more things about this neighborhood, why the families live here, and what we are afraid of.

One officer that was interviewed mentioned that the reason why the crime rate in this neighborhood is high is because we are poor or uneducated. Has he really looked at this area? Most of the buildings here are single family homes, NOT apartments. These families have a mortgage, not renting. There is a retired fire chief living right across the street from me. Most of the people in this neighborhood have decent paying jobs, and some of us not only went to college, but have degrees.

Why do I live in this apartment? Because I choose too. I am paying off debts, so that in less than four years we will be free of all old and new debt. When we first moved here in 2007, our credit score was under 500. Now we are close to 700, how many people can say that? I don’t feel like owning a home because in a few short years, my wife and I are going to travel around with our business, selling jewelry for a living, seeing the country, etc. I have a landlord that is one of the best in the city, keeps up on maintenance, works hard to fix any problem in the building that may arise. Why should I have to mow my own lawn, pay to fix problems when I am not even going to be here much longer?

It is true what Caleb reported about the problems in this neighborhood, but it is the fault of our IFPD as it is some of the people in this area. When I first moved here, the police drove through our neighborhood at least four times a week, now you can’t even get one out here unless there is some kind of super emergency. What about the guy across the street last week shooting off fireworks at one thirty in the morning, drunk as a skunk, tossing beer bottles onto first street? Sure the police showed up, after thirty minutes, and four phone calls from the people in this apartment.

The people in this neighborhood are fearful that the crime rate has risen recently. Some of us have fire arms. While we are law abiding citizens, it is sad when we have to carry weapons in order to feel safe. As reported, many people chose not to speak on camera because of the fear of repercussion by the police. This is pretty sad, considering the police are supposed to serve and protect EVERYONE, not just the rich people. In closing, I would also like to say that many people who are well off here in Idaho Falls are just a payday away from being in the same position they fear the most. Let’s hope that the comment made by one police officer doesn’t reflect the views by all of our good police force.


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