Photo by PoPville flickr user KingoftheHill.
I’ve lived in the same apartment in Bloomingdale for 3 years and know all my neighbors, love the neighborhood and the vibe. Increasingly, over the past year, we (neighbors, my bf and I) have all noticed Bloomingdale has been charged with a new tense and violent energy. In the evenings, it’s not as noticeable, people are out and about going to Yoga District, Ren Hen, Boundary Stone, Big Bear Cafe, etc.
The daytime hours are the worst times to be out. We usually walk our yellow lab around midday between 12 pm and 4 pm and almost every day we are verbally accosted and threatened by young men driving or walking through the neighborhood (between Rhode Island and Florida on 1st and 2nd Streets NW.)
They usually try to hit on me and when I ignore them or refuse their comments/advances, it immediately turns to threats of violence–“Fuck you bitch. I’ll fucking fuck you up. Watch your back, bitch. Don’t walk away from me. I know where you live. I should’ve robbed you. I’ll fucking rob you.” This afternoon a guy in a van followed me for blocks and wouldn’t leave me alone screaming at me for ignoring him and threatening to hurt me and rob me and that he knew where I lived–I’m sure he doesn’t, but still scary enough. My landlord just happened to be walking towards us and his presence scared off the guy in the van. We reported the incident to the non emergency police tip line.
With my bf, they instantly threaten him, follow him for blocks saying some form of the above. It’s always some threat of violence, “Hey faggot, I’m going to follow you into that alley and fuck your shit. Stupid fucker, let’s get him. Let’s fuck him up. Follow that fucker.”
As I mentioned before, I know all my neighbors and these young men don’t live here that I’ve seen. They’re usually walking through in groups of 3 or more or they’re driving around on the quiet, short, cross streets that don’t connect to main thoroughfares. They’re cruising around seemingly looking to interact with pedestrians. The worst places are the gas station area on Rhode Island and Florida NW, and the STRANGE “electronics shop” on the corner of Florida and 2nd Street NW. There are always drug deals out in the open in front of that shop or on the quiet streets nearest the shop (2nd and T NW). I’ve seen so many drugs and money exchanged during the daytime around that area.
Our neighbors are really good about being “present” in a lot of different ways. We have really young children that play basketball or football on the sidewalks, neighbors sit out on their stoops, and socialize and report anything suspicious. We all watch out for each other but I’m concerned about the escalation and the frequency of these incidences and feel like they’re getting worse. It makes me want to be outside less and less.
I’m curious if others in Bloomingdale on different streets have noticed this as well.”