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by Peter Moskos

September 28, 2014

There are good people, too.

The sixth in a series from Sgt. Adam Plantinga's excellent 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman:
There are good people in the neighborhood. They work hard. They try to raise their kids right. They’ll even help you push if your squad car gets stuck in a snow bank. You see them out there, tending to their lawns, cleaning the broken bottles off the sidewalk in front of their house, shaking their heads as a car with chrome rims drives by, the bass turned up so loud it rattles the stemware in their kitchen.

Some of them have lived in the same house for 20, 30, 40 years and now look around and don’t recognize the street they grew up on or the people that live there. The block has taken a turn for the worse and they’re talking about moving. They don’t want to move, mind you. But maybe they’d rather live in a place where they can watch their grandkids play without having to worry about stray bullets or vicious dogs. Maybe they want to look out the window and see kids racing each other on bikes instead of some teen in an oversized I Got That Snow T-shirt doing a hand-to-hand drug deal. You can’t blame them for wanting out. You don’t live there. You wouldn’t make it. Sure, you patrol those streets and alleys but at the end of your shift, you go home. That makes you merely a tourist. Not a guide, but a guest.

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