May 12th, 2008

Yellow head

This Town

The residential home I work in is situated in a rough area of a town that's become blighted with urban decay and crime. White and Asian communities live uneasily side by side. Unemployment is high, and there's precious little work around. Yes, it's the familiar sad story of a Northern mill town that has fallen into a half-death, after the oblivion of the textile industry, and neglect by local government.

I can look out of the window at work and see drug dealing going on across the street. Cars pull up opposite one another so that the exchange can be made through open windows. Youths with mobiles hang around the local mini-mart, waiting for a drop to be made. There are two schools within a quarter of a mile of this street. Local children play amongst the criminal activity.

In recent times, the home has suffered a number of attacks, mostly by children, who have broken the front door, the laundry and fire escape windows. A few weeks ago, in the middle of the night, three guys showed up with a ladder and attempted to prize the lead off the roof. They were scared off by our night staff who challenged them through the window.

I asked the local neighbourhood wardens to visit us, and I've also spoken to the community police who patrol the area. Even today, I've had police run off a gang of Asian youths who continually use fire escape to smoke dope under. These kids will be be back, as they seem to have no fear of the law. They're brazen and quite uncaring.

The gorgeous May weather seems to have heightened the ugliness of the litter strewn street. There's an undercurrent of menace to much of the activity I see. The other day a whole family of gruesome, white chavs, all looking like they'd walked off the Jeremy Kyle show, proceeded to have a screaming, foul-mouthed row in front of the home. They sat their fat, bloated bodies on the low wall in front of the premises, oblivious to the fact that it wasn't their property, or that everyone within half a mile, could hear the details of their domestic disorder.

I noticed today that police patrols had been stepped up, and that the area had become a little more settled. But the nastiness remains to spring out of the decay as soon as the law has gone.