T Nation

Urban Interactions


I recently moved to a large city. So I picked an area to rent that seemed nice on the outside, but cheap enough to save money to buy a house. The area is a subdivion, but has a large number of felons, assault rates are 3x the mean state rate, and property crimes are high. Murder, rape, and arson rates are slightly higher that state mean. There are vicious breeds of dogs that run free, but I can deal with those jokers. My question involves day to day interactions with suspect members of the area.

I've always gone by the be firm and polite method of interaction. If someone comes in my yard. I ask them if I can help them. (which in the south means get the f*ck off my yard :slight_smile: I rarely speak or engage people within this area and have no real interest in doing so. A good neighbor keeps to themselves in my opinion. I realize that many people in this specific forum are much more knowledgeable about these types of situations. What do you all think are appropriate methods of engagement that do the following:

Make your presence known and deter trespassers
Make all reasonable attempts to avoid violent altercations.
Keep a rapport that reduces your risk of being a victim of property crime.

Do you believe in being armed in these situations? If so do you believe in displaying your weapon?

I'll throw out a few situations:

The late nite knock on your door, middle aged woman is searching for her teen aged son.

Two young males looking less than respectable pull into your drive way in car with busted out windows, body damage, then proceed to get out.


I grew up in the queens neighborhood of Jackson, MS so I completely understand your concern. Our house and cars were broken into with regularity. We really stood out in the neighborhood since we were the only white family and this really made us a target. The most important thing you can do is to not make any friends or even acquaintances. People with a criminal mentality don't have relationships with people for mutual benefit, they have relationships from which they feel they can benefit, period.

Hide what you own from everyone. If you buy a tv or anything else that looks expensive don't let anyone see you carry it inside. Keep your blinds closed all the time.

Get at least 2 scary dogs that bark a lot. These are the only things in your house that you should show off. Walk them around the neighborhood during the busiest hours. Advertise that you have 2 pitbulls with cropped ears that you have to muzzle before you walk.

Get a carry pistol and a concealed weapons license and have a high level of proficiency drawing and firing your weapon. The Ruger LCR and LCP and the Springfield mini XD are great compact carry pistols that you can get for cheap.

As far as dealing with people directly, assume that everyone you encounter is trying to either rob you or case your house. I think that the polite but stern way you have been dealing with this is probably the most effective. Keep a stone face and only say what needs to be said. Don't be a dick but don't be super friendly either.


Make your presence known and deter trespassers: "Good morning/Afternoon/Evening."
Make all reasonable attempts to avoid violent altercations. "How are we doing, mate?"
Keep a rapport that reduces your risk of being a victim of property crime. Have a fence and an alarm system...

i don't think u need to be armed to be respectful and get respect back wtf america...


Move before its too late. Its sounds like you're risking your life to save a couple hundred bucks on rent.


of all the possible scenarios you could have thought of you came up with these??? lol

use your common sense and you will be fine, life is not that scary

you wont get murdered or raped, relax


this is ridiculous

OP dont go and buy two killer dogs and guns and assume everyone you encounter is trying to rob you.

good god


^things people who have never lived in a seriously bad neighborhood say.

You mentioned you were in the south. Bad areas in the south tend to be rougher than bad areas elsewhere in my experience. Anyone who has taken a wrong turn and wound up in West Memphis, Jackson's queens or New Orlean's 9th ward can attest to this.


Thanks for the well thought out reply. I turned down a job in jackson due to crime. And I am one of the few white people on my block. I have lived in predominately minority areas before with very few problems. This area is a little different.

Funny you mention pitbulls as my neighbors have two large pits.

I carry most of the time, hide my shit, barricade the doors to my back fence. I'm thinking of putting up some barbwire on the fence.

That is the exact way I view people.


I'll be out in 4 months, and you're right.


OP - You sound like your doing the right things, your way ahead of most. What is the active gang in your area, and adjacent areas. What's their color (you better be able to recognize them). Are there any members within a block of your house. And don't kid yourself if there are felons/drugs there are gangs.

16 yrs ago I had a house in 5th street MM territory, lived there in relative peace for five years (pretty much on the edge of the war zone , no joke). When I moved in I already knew people in that neighborhood (transitional) their advice was appear as tough as possible in everything you do. Never wear their color, or adjacent gang colors. Avoid their corners that they deal from, otherwise you may interfere with their business. If you are a good neighbor and blend in you will not have a problem.

My advise to add to that is carry every minute of the day that you can otherwise your just a target, besides if your doing it sometimes and not all the time your just kidding yourself. I like LM advice about the dogs, and if its not nailed down its gone even the smallest things. There are a lot of things you need to do if your going to live in that area, blending in is the most important.

More things not to do #1 Don't call the cops unless your moving out that day. #2 Flip off anybody, #3 Walk around at night, #4 Talk Shit,(this means talking loud) #5 Look at the females. #6 Never go unarmed #7 Never do what they do (you are different, you can be different and still blend in) #8 Have a block party, #9 Never mow the lawn at 9 oclock on Saturday morning. #10 Plant flowers in the yard. Sorry just wanted a nice round number.


Yea, I'm inclined to agree with Lofty.

It's easy to say, "Oh, it'll NEVER happen to you, stop being so paranoid!" - until it does. Then the statistics go out the window - as in "statistically" it probably won't happen to you, but if you're one of the ones it does ... Plus, if you're living in a bad neighborhood, you're already much more likely to have something happen.

I concur with his advice also. The size/weightlifting thing is also good - if you're a big guy or look like you lift, that sort of commands respect and makes you less of a target.

That, combined with very, very good situational awareness, should keep you in the clear for however much longer you've got to live there.


It's sad that there is a "ghetto" anywhere in the United States, and that anyone has to live in such a place.

But to quote Naughty By Nature, "if you're not from the ghetto, don't come to the ghetto. Cause you wouldn't understand the ghetto. So stay the ---- outta the ghetto."


No one HAS to live in the ghetto in America. I guarantee you that every single person there qualifies for FASFA; yet, how many of them have (or have even attempted to acquire) college educations?


All solid advice. I'd add/expand with the following:

Predators don't tend to fight other predators unless they are forced. The key mindset to have at all times is to conduct yourself as a potential predator, without being overtly a potential threat. We're talking simple things here - walk tall and alert, no valuables on display obviously, no taking phonecalls when you're walking through the neighbourhood etc. If you can avoid treading on any toes by straying into no go areas for gangs, and can give off the vibe that you're not looking for trouble but you're damn sure prepared to deal it out by the spadeful if it finds you, you shouldn't have too much trouble.


Good point, this is the land of opportunity! You were able to move out of the bad neighborhood (I assume), I got FAFSA loans for college.

Not to derail the discussion, or argue with you, but what was your school like when lived in Jackson? Was it just as rough as the neighborhood?


The school was really, really bad. We had a standardized IQ test and our school's average score was 85 which I believe is roughly what Forrest Gump would have scored. The only classes where you could learn anything were the Advanced Placement classes. Those really weren't that bad because only the small handful of respectable kids were able to get into them but the rest of the classes were just kids fighting with the teacher and with each other, talking loudly, throwing shit and selling drugs the whole time. The teachers weren't necessarily bad but they never really had an opportunity to teach because of all the behavioral issues they had to deal with.

The one redeeming quality is that they had an awesome football program which is how I was able to go to college. Sadly, there were a lot of really talented players that would have been able to get scholarships as well but their grades were too bad (I don't assume they scored well on the ACT or the SAT either).

The thing most people don't recognize is that the poor performance of the school didn't really have anything to do with the teachers, school funding, standardized testing or any of the other things people like to blame it on. It was and continues to be completely the fault of these kids parents. If they came home to consequences for having bad grades or disrespecting their teachers then they would think twice before they did it.

Sorry about the gigantic post. It's just a message I like to get out to people because everyone in the hood likes to pretend like they are victims of circumstance and they're just being oppressed ,which may have been true in the 50's, but it's really just a bunch of bullshit in the 21st century. People who didn't grow up there don't always understand that.


This interests me, Loftearmen, thanks for sharing (although it's leading me to a slight thread derailing). I'm hardly qualified to comment on this arena, since I grew up in a neighborhood that was pretty much the classic upper-middle-class-privileged suburb and had every advantage.

But, my sister-in-law now teaches in a SD that's not "dangerous" by any means, but rather a poor-ish rural school, and she sees a (nonviolent) version of what you're describing. No problems with gangs or felons, just a bunch of unmotivated kids who basically don't see any point in "school" for any reason, and she believes that the parents are largely to blame.

She tells stories that are half-funny, half-awful (not in a "kids bringing guns to school" sense but in a "these kids are just waiting until they can legally drop out" sense); for example, she will see a kid sitting there just not working while she's giving a test.

She'll quietly walk over and ask (in her best calming, motherly whisper): "Hey, Student Name, why aren't you working on the problems?"

To which the kid will reply: "I ain't got a pencil." (as though that entirely excuses him from taking the test. Instead of asking to borrow a pencil, they'd rather just sit there and not even try. No concept of voluntarily taking a zero on the test being a "bad" thing, it's just something they have to sit through until they can leave school for the day)

Like I said, not exactly a violent horror story, but sad in a different way. When the parents don't set any expectation for kids to even try, I don't think any amount of increased school funding or great teachers will make up for that.

Surely, you can make a living in this country without being able to do geometry proofs and algebra. I'm not here to comment on whether all kids should go to college vs. get technical or trade educations. But, because I grew up with parents that did emphasize education, I just struggled to figure out how, if at all, one could reach a kid that comes to school and just shuffles their way from class to class without giving ANY effort, knowing that kid is going home to a place where no one cares what happened to him at school that day.


Good post, just what I was looking for. Thanks for taking the time for the serious answer.


I completely agree with you. I'm not saying that kids should get a college education vs. going to trade school, getting and apprenticeship, etc... but I think we can all agree that they should do at least one of those things so they can raise a family in a somewhat comfortable environment. That brings us to an entirely different topic though which is raising a family instead of knocking up 4 different women and peacing out on all of them leaving numerous children with no father...


Sorry OP


Good points on the gang stuff, I'm pretty ignorant on the subject.

Good points, I don't do any of those. Plus yard works sucks and their women are fugly!