Community Post

The Hood

If you ask anyone who knew this city 10+ years ago where the hood was, the CD was a first answer. Yes there are other answers too.

This CDN site seems conflicted on whether it is a neighborhood or a hood. It’s both.

What I’m wondering:

Why do people drop so much money on houses that are in the hood?
Why do people expect the hood to go away once they become homeowners here?

What I understand:

When you are not from the hood you don’t really understand what goes on in it.
You also don’t really understand why the hood is the hood.
As someone who is not from the hood, you have the privilege of not having to understand those things.

What I expect to hear (read):
“This is not the hood, the house is wonderful, and my neighbors are great it’s just those evil neighbors, drug dealers, and prostitutes.”
“Everyone has the right to a wonderful life free of crime and now that I live here I want that not only for myself but for everyone around me!!”

0 thoughts on “The Hood

  1. Thanks for your interesting post, AP. It made me wonder something. What you said suggests that you have lived here 10+ years and that you don’t expect evil neighbors, drug dealing or prostitution to go away. Why not? (This is a real question. I’m not trying to defend anything, or corner you or anything like that.) Thanks.

  2. 1. We moved here because home prices weren’t as obscene here as elsewhere in the city, even when we bought our house in 1997. Here we could afford an older home (though a serious fixer) with a yard.
    2. When we bought, we didn’t have preconceived notions about how our neighbors in the “hood” would behave. Such preconceived notions are one thing that had kept real estate prices down around here. (Does this make me naive? Maybe. We thought our real estate agent was being racist and paranoid. But like you predicted I’d say… our neighbors, both longtime and new, have been great.)
    3. I’ve become aware that for most of my life I haven’t had to understand “hood” mentality. I’d never thought I was especially privileged. I’ve come to realize that by virtue of being white, I take a lot a privilege for granted.
    4. I don’t understand burglars, drug dealers, and prostitutes here here any more than I understand meth labs in rural Oregon.
    5. I don’t think we should lie down and put up with crime. There are way more “nice neighbors” than there are “hoodlums.” (And so many hoodlums are just teenagers — kids, for crying out loud!) That was true 10, 20 years ago and it is today.
    6. I never thought “the hood” would go away. I’ve lived with the reality, fixed the problems I could, gotten to know as many neighbors as possible, protected myself reasonably. I’ve never been particularly scared, except maybe during that windstorm last year…
    7. Yes, I’ve never been particularly scared… once I actually lived here. “The hood,” at least in Seattle, is not what the news media and out-of-town nutjobs would have you believe. So much fearmongering.

  3. So we’re supposed just deal with prostitutes, shoots, gang members, harassment, burglaries or get out? That’s even more narrow minded than those of us who have made the choice to move here. I knew when I moved that I wasn’t moving to the most affluent area of Seattle. Change is inevitable and in the case of gangs, prostitutes, drugs, robberies etc…I would l hope that any decent person would help with changing that in any way possible.

  4. It’s not an all or none situation. Quit with the black and white viewpoint. People live here because they can afford it.

    Everyone has a rosy outlook when they move into a new place. Everything is new, including the problems. People have an idea drug selling and prostitution is going on, but you never really understand until you see it with your own eyes.

    This area was/is blue collar. How much money people have is spelled out on the side of their house in the lack of paint and a new roof. Until people have money from a steady income, there will be ho’s and drugs and all the action those activities bring.

    The neighborhoods are changing because the people that raised their children here in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s are getting old, and needing to move to a location that provides more personal help. Most of the neighbors I have talked to, and I talk, say that their kids don’t want to live here. The drug availability is mentioned as one reason.
    I have seen many instances where the old folks die, and the kids sell the house. Whether that means the kids don’t have the money to live here, or they don’t want to live in their childhood home or whatever, the outcome is that new people are moving in.

    Most of the new people are white, and white people call the cops when they see something going down. Poorer black people don’t call the cops because cops=harassment. (I know, not always. I am generalizing.) But it is not an automatic response like it is with white folk. The changing face of the CD means the cops will be called more often. Which means the “unsavory” behaviors on the streets will slowly dissipate.

    I have lived here since 1994. I have seen many guns go off. Watched a SWAT team invade a neighbors home. Seen a neighbor run out of her house naked while her son chased her with a knife. Had guys smoke crack behind me while I weeded my yard. Had kids vault over my fence in my face. Etc, etc. etc. It all is slowly going away. I won’t miss the bad behavior. But I sure as shit miss some of my neighbors.

  5. A brief history lesson.

    In the days before the crack epidemic, people living in the CD didn’t even bother to lock their doors. It was considered a “hood” back then not because of crime but simply because black people lived here.

    Then came crack cocaine, which brought with it violent crime, prostitution, abandoned children, and a bizarre and self-defeating worship of “thug life”. Many middle-class black families fled the neighborhood during this time.

    In the mid-90’s, as crackheads and dealers died or went to jail, crack houses were seized, and the economy picked up, crime rates waned and prositution and drug dealing vanished from all but a few hot spots.

    Around the end of 2004, shootings suddenly picked up. Theories as to why include the dramatic drop in the number of street cops as law enforcement resources were reallocated to fighting the “war on terror”, the release of the last generation of thugs from jail, kids from the previous crack epidemic are now coming of age, the sagging economy, George W Bush, etc.

    All signs indicate that things will pick up again soon. Seattle is hiring scores of new police officers. 911 response rates have been impressive. Obama will become president. The Iraq war will end and the economy will get a boost. There’s a new generation of parents who will invest in the TT Minor, Leschi, and Bailey Gatzert schools. Soaring gas prices will ensure continued development and investment in the neighborhood given it’s close proximity to pretty much everything. And web sites like this will help the community organize to lobby the city.