ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) – As more and more black renters began moving into this mostly white San Francisco Bay Area suburb a few years ago, neighbors started complaining about loud parties, mean pit bulls, blaring car radios, prostitution, drug dealing and muggings of schoolchildren.
In 2006, as the influx reached its peak, the police department formed a special crime-fighting unit to deal with the complaints, and authorities began cracking down on tenants in federally subsidized housing.
Now that police unit is the focus of lawsuits by black families who allege the city of 100,000 is orchestrating a campaign to drive them out.
“A lot of people are moving out here looking for a better place to live,” said Karen Coleman, a mother of three who came here five years ago from a blighted neighborhood in nearby Pittsburg. “We are trying to raise our kids like everyone else. But they don’t want us here.”
City officials deny the allegations in the lawsuits, which were filed last spring and seek unspecified damages.
The Bay area’s not the only area hit by this problem:
Across the country, similar tensions have simmered when federally subsidized renters escaped run-down housing projects and violent neighborhoods by moving to nicer communities in suburban Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Make sure to read the whole article, as it’s a case study in and of itself as to the perils of believing liberal do-gooders who swear up one side and down the other that putting low income people (who rely on federal assistance – whether they be black OR white – to survive) in nicer neighborhoods won’t start a crime wave nor devalue property. Forcing the issue, of course, brings exactly the kind of problems seen today in bigger cities that have implemented wrongheaded policies like this one, with two groups of people feeling like they are being targeted: established homeowners who’ve seen the crime rates rise in their neighborhoods and property values descrease, and low-income, mostly black citizens who believe they’re being singled out because of their race.
It’s been my experience that neighborhood engineering that occurs the “natural way” (read: without government interference) always seems to work best. I mean – it’s just common sense … right?