Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bianca Knows Best ... And Helps a Midtown Newbie

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Dear Bianca,

I just moved into a rental house in Midtown, and I somehow failed to notice before signing the lease that the neighborhood was more than a little sketchy. In my first week here, I’ve seen several crazies passing by on the sidewalk in front of the house. I think they may be on crack (or possibly just nuts) because they’re often talking to themselves or dancing. Sometimes they travel in groups and scream loudly at one another.

I’m starting to worry that my belongings may not be safe. I moved from a nice neighborhood in East Memphis, and though I knew Midtown was different, this wasn’t what I was expecting. I’m stuck in a lease, but can you offer any crackhead-repelling tips?

— Midtown Newbie

Dear Midtown Newbie,

My first apartment in Memphis was on a shabby stretch of Monroe Avenue. On my third day there, I was welcomed to the neighborhood by a local prostitute, who knocked on my door to ask for a ride. I also once had a guy ask if he could duck into my apartment to hit his crack pipe so his wife wouldn’t see him. Having moved here from a small town in Arkansas, I was pretty blown away by the situation.

Since then, I’ve lived in several other Midtown neighborhoods, some better than others. Currently, I’m situated in a cute historic neighborhood with a high rate of home break-ins. My home has been burglarized twice since last November, so I’ve taken a few common-sense precautions. Obviously, an alarm system is a great investment, as are surveillance cameras. Always keep all doors and windows locked. That may sound silly, but my first break-in happened when I forgot to lock a window. If possible, have bars installed on lower windows.

Purchase renter’s insurance. I didn’t have that after my first break-in and I’ll never be reimbursed for the stolen rings, cameras, and DVDs. After my desktop iMac was stolen in my most recent break-in (after I’d gotten some renter’s insurance), I used the insurance funds to buy a laptop. That laptop and my camera go with me everywhere now. Sure, they’re sometimes a hassle to tote around, but they can also be pretty handy, especially in my line of work. Unfortunately, there are no crazy Midtown crackhead repellants on the market. But someone should look into inventing that.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com

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