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Neighborhood log

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— 24 February, 2008

On the suggestion of the security staff at Market Cross Shopping Centre, which abuts the property surrounding my apartment, I have decided to keep a running journal of the misbehaviors that I witness in the area.

26 Feb 08 — 9:30

• Saw Paddy Ryan, manager of the shopping center, and one of his workers below in Chapel Lane. They were talking about "brush" and "roller" — the paint-job I'd requested yesterday.

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25 Feb 08 —

9:00

• Passing by group of kids in "Smoker's Lane" this morning before their schooltime, I had to stop and tell one lad I recognized him, that I'd seen him breaking a window. He denied it, and had a rather sharp "memory" of where he'd been at that time five days earlier.

9:30

• I saw a kid whom I recognized, getting out of his parents' car. I took the license-plate number.

9:45

• Three lads were at doorway across Chapel Lane. One of them had lit a piece of paper on fire, likely one of the Argos pages that had been strewn about the neighborhood over the weekend. I asked be careful with fire, okay.

• Talked with a guard at Market Cross — are the cameras working? He said yes — for now.

• Talked with a plainclothes guy up at the garda barracks (police station) to arrange to have sergeant Gordon ring me. I'd been told that Sgt. Gordon would be my liaison in the establishment of a neighborhood watch program.

• Talked with Paddy Ryan, manager of Market Cross Shopping Centre, to ask him if he would have the graffiti painted over in the laneway between the building and the old city wall.

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• 15:30 Sunday 24 Feb a group of about 15 kids came, ages 15-17 girls and boys, throwing pieces of torn-up Argos catologues at each other.

About fifty Argos catalogues are scattered about the laneway between Market Cross and the city wall.

As I was leaving my apartment at about 14:00, I met up with four lads and a girl. One of the guys tried to shake my hand as I passed, and I just stared him down. "He won't even shake my hand anymore," he said [I'd never done so] — "not after we broke his window."

I presume either 1) he was the one of the two lads I saw breaking a window across Chapel lane whom I did not recognize, or 2) he was speaking of "we" in the a-member-of-our-group-of-cowards sense. I don't know which, because I can only memorize so many faces.

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• Saturday 23 Feb a group of 12-15 teens ran through neigborhood, coming up Chapel Lane, kicked a mirror off a car. They went up to end of laneway by wall, one of them picked up a cement block and smashed it down onto the bench, I believe. They stood around up there for ten minutes. The gards never came, as far as I know.

I spoke with a dispatcher at the garda station. She recorded the essential details of my report, and she asked me if she could ring me back in a little while. She did so.

She asked me whether or not we have a "neighborhood watch" program in place. Uh, no. Would I be interested, yes I would. Sergeant Gordon would ring me -- or, she said, would I like to do it another way. That would be good, I said (thinking yes, I will go to the "garda barracks" and pursue this matter further.)

Sgt. Gordon, she said, would be our liaison. This is where I got the seed of my idea that I am going to have to spearhead any real action on the matters of the security of this neighborhood.

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• Thursday 21 February 11:45 I heard clink of metal on concrete, then a crash of a small bit of glass. I stuck my head out of my second-level kitchen window and asked two lads -- dressed in the uniform of CBS middle-school -- to go away. They did. I recognized one of them from some trouble I had last springtime.

After I finished eating, and after I'd realized that I had a perfect knowledge of the time of an incident, it would be the perfect opportunity to identify a couple of trouble-making youth and bring them some consequences.

When I visited the security office at Market Cross Shopping Centre, I found out that the security cameras don't work.

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• On Tuesday the 19th, a few students (according to some other students) tore up some bushes in the laneway between the city wall and Market Cross, and spread them across the walkway.


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