Saturday, March 10, 2007

Do you feel afraid, anxious or worried? You shouldn't!

I had an interesting hand delivered letter drop through my letterbox today asking me "Do you feel afraid, anxious or worried?" and cordially inviting me to a "neighbourhood meeting" in order to help "turn this area around, turn it into a place we can all enjoy living in and feel safe in."

Shark!!!! Watch out!!!!The police will be at the meeting to ensure no one robs us while we innocently go about our business and members of the council's anti-social behaviour team will also be in attendance, no doubt to ensure we all go through the chair when we speak. No misbehaving you at the back. Yes, you.

I'm all for people in the local area getting together to build something constructive and a bit of community spirit, but seeing as this is the safest town I've ever lived in I find it ludicrous being asked; "Are you fed up with disturbances, violence, theft, abuse, graffiti, littering, noise, "anti-social behaviour" in our area?... Are you concerned for your kids safety?" Well, the answer is no. I'm not fed up with things that either hardly ever happen or are so irrelevant that they don't even impinge on my consciousness.

Of course, like all reasonable people, if I were to see a criminal-type engaged in littering this green and pleasant land I would birch the bugger and be done with him, just as I know you would dear reader, but let's keep things in proportion.

Why am I being sent a letter that is deliberately attempting to make me feel frightened in a low crime area? This is probably the nicest part of Cambridge to live in (although certainly not the poshest). These people need to get out more... but of course they can't because they've triple locked themselves in haven't they, for fear of all the foreigners, students, and gay people loitering around just waiting for an opportunity to make a "disturbance".

A gang of us will be going to this meeting to propose group hugs, relaxing meditation sessions and suggest we don't erect the razor wire just yet to keep out all those imaginary unsavory types. We don't need more police patrols, we don't need any crack downs and we certainly don't need a bunch of council bureaucrats issuing ASBOs like there's no tomorrow.

We need to enjoy ourselves more. We are much more likely to deepen community spirit when we do something positive than if we start peeping out of our windows with our camouflage binoculars and tutting at the local "youth" (who's name is Sam).

I don't want anyone to "turn this area around" because it's the one part of Cambridge that actually has some semblance of community spirit and diversity. I already enjoy living here and like most people feel completely and utterly safe.

All areas have crime but these people look like they are on the war path and are as likely to create divisions in the community as any improvements. They are clearly idiots and must be hugged immediately.


John Angliss said...

Me and Michelle had been planning to mug you, but we got a bit distracted. Still, there'll always be a next time eh Jim?

Phugebrins said...

I can see this post being linked back to many times in the future.

Jim Jay said...

I'll certainly report back from the meeting once it happens (next Tuesday) - the irony was that this note was delivered whilst a whole gang of us were taking part in a community clean up day actually doing something a little more constructive to make our area beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Just because you personally don't feel afraid doesn't mean that others are not and maybe have got good cause. Look round most council estates and you will see areas where respectable people live, the lawns are mowed, the house a home, children kept under control,no litter. no dumping,people trying to live in harmony with neigbours etc but often just a few yards away is someone else who thinks it is their given right to do exactly what they want, night and day making every person that they come into contact with lives a misery. Noise, trespassing,fighting, dogs allowed to defecate freely everywhere, vehicles parked on pavements and verges, speeding cars,fly tipping, bullying, alcohol abuse, drugs, shouting, syringes in public areas, vomit and glass on the footpaths.
I don't like getting useless glossy bits of paper and council self aggrandization propaganda posted through my door but some people are exposed to real problems and need a proactive structure and supportive infrastructure to be able to deal with these matters in a civilized, logical manner. the world as seen through your eyes is just one perspective, you may see things as easily managed without fuss, you are lucky, but a broad net has to be cast to see where the problems are arising.

Jim Jay said...

Well my review of the meeting is here if you want to read it.

This is a low crime area and it was the tone of the leaflet that was trying to *make* people afraid that was its biggest problem.

Fact is we've built an excellent community group from this initiative but there are many that did not get involved because of the idiotic tone of this initial leaflet.

I've not said there is no crime or no one is afraid - what I'm opposing is people trying to whip up fear when we should be building solidarity in our communities.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous again

Yes I agree with you, building good strong communities is best. More power to your elbow. I wish where I live felt safe.

ah said...

the scenario described by anonymous is not confined to council estates.