Living in the ‘Hood’?

Recently I created a post called “Music to my Ears” wherein I discussed the sights and sounds we hear living in the city.  The piece explained how we are used to the chorus of sounds we hear each day and have come to find many of the different sounds to be quite therapeutic.  There was also mention of our building’s concrete walls and how they act as very effective sound barriers.  That is why on one evening last week, we were not initially concerned to hear an unfamiliar sound. 

It was later in the evening and we were all busy with an activity.  My husband was putting Little S to bed, and I was talking on the phone.  When we heard the unusual sound we continued with our task at hand.  When our daughter asked what it was that she had just heard, my husband came up with a quick guess.  The bedtime routine is very fragile at best and I am sure all parents can appreciate that any extra distractions can be disastrous.  He offered the explanation that it was nothing more than a loud car.  This answer seemed to satisfy her and our evening continued, uneventfully.

The next day while catching up on the latest news, I became aware of what took place the prior evening.  The sound we heard was actually three gunshots.  I learned that, thankfully, no one was injured but I did feel a little rattled to find out that what we had heard that night was something so serious and so close to home.  The locale of the incident was not very far from us and it would not have been unusual for my husband to be in that area at that time grabbing something from one of the stores.  This caused me to reflect a little.

My first reaction was something along the lines of an assumption that because we had moved to the city we were inadvertently exposing ourselves to more crime.  I think this is a general assumption of the masses; city = crime.  With this comes the usual worry every parent has when it comes to their children.  Is my child safe?  Is this a safe place for my child to grow up, etc.?

I didn’t take me long during this tornado of thoughts to remember that when we lived in our quiet little suburb, there was a grow-op bust a mere ten doors down from us.  Police tape, news cameras, the whole nine yards.  And that was in a nice, middle-class neighbourhood.  My three stolen cars came to mind as well from back in the day when I lived in the North-West part of London.  I was left with the knowledge that unfortunately, it doesn’t matter where you choose to live; crime finds its way into the richest of rich neighbourhoods, the poorest of the poor and the nicest of nice places to live.  This is a reality in our world and always has been.

Statistically speaking, Ontario actually has the lowest overall crime rate of all the provinces in Canada.  And crime overall in Canada fell roughly 5% in the last few years.  I am no statistics wiz and I’ll admit that I really don’t know much about this topic, but I do know that the more people who live in a given place, the higher the volume of crime there will be.  This just makes sense.  This is why we would see a higher incidence of crime in a city like Toronto than we would here in London.  How do stats like this affect the decisions of families on where to set up shop, where to make a home?  Are there parts of London (or your respective city) that you would choose not to live?  And how knowledgeable are we?  Have we done the research or are we making decisions based on assumptions and generalizations?

I leave you with this question:  what type of neighbour-’hood’ do you live in?  Has the presence or probability of crime affected your decision on where to live?  Why have you chosen to live where you live?

I am left with the feeling summarized above.  We can’t hide from crime but we can do our best to make smart decisions and teach little S to make intelligent choices.  There is nothing that says we are safer in any particular neighbourhood than another.  So for now my ‘hood’ will remain my happy place!

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10 responses to “Living in the ‘Hood’?

  1. Kel, we live in Pondmills. This is the area I grew up in and I can most definitely say that it is NOT the same neighborhood it used to be. The store down the way from us was recently broken into and the clerk was attacked. Gunshots around the corner from us last summer, our car was broken into two winters ago, and finally, while on mat leave last year, someone attempted to break in while I was home with my two young children. That last act prompted us to buy an alarm system, but we have decided to move out of the area as soon as we can. We are sending L to French Immersion because it is in an area that is further from where we live and therefore, in my opinion, a better school. Then I hear that last night there was a fatal stabbing close to the school she will attend.
    If I could move tomorrow, I would!

    • Thanks for the comment Steph. I had no idea these things were happening in your area. And what a traumatic thing to go through with the attempted break-in. Good luck with your search for your new home.

      I think we would be hard pressed to find a school that didn’t have its issues within it or surrounding it. Keep me posted!

  2. Love your pic at the bottom of this too!

    So, this is a great post. Really makes you think. I am going to be taking a class in September called Philosophy – Reasoning and Critical Thinking and one of the things we will be learning is about the use and misuse of statistics. People could look at Toronto’s stats and assume it is a City with a lot of crime, but based on the amount of people, London could possibly be higher, or another smaller town could be higher “statistically”. It’s all relative, and I agree that crime could find you anywhere and you have to use good judgement and make good decisions in order to stay away from it. I know that in London typically the “West” is considered nice and the East not as much. However, Whiteoaks area tends to have a bad reputation and it’s not necessarily “east”. Westmount has its issues too even though most would consider it “rich” area. Kids that want to steal and break into cars will look for “rich” areas to do that in, so really no matter where we live, it will be around.

    Gated community anyone? 🙂 I’m sure it would have its issues too…

    • Great info Linds. You are so right with the misuse of stats. I had a difficult time myself trying to put it into accurate words. I look forward to you educating me once you start your course.

      Gated community? Have you watched the new show The Gates? 🙂

  3. Oh wow! I can’t believe you heard it! I thought it was late at night. I guess I should stop reading headlines and actually read a few news stories.

    • It was at 10:30 pm. We had just got home from Toronto so S was going to bed really late.

      Headline are all we have time for sometimes 🙂 Another sad reality!

  4. Hey Kel – congrats on the new Blog. I’ve enjoyed following along and reading about your new “city life”. It’s funny that this post came up when it did. We’re actually moving out of the east end next week, into Byron. I’m sooo excited!! We live on a pretty nice street in the east end, fairly quiet, good neighbours and most people look after and take pride in their homes. But let’s just say that living there did have it’s moments. There were countless times where my husband and I would shake our heads in disbelief saying, “Only in the east end…”

    I should add that I’m not expecting perfection from living in the west end, but I am hoping that my little one will be less exposed to the things we’re getting used to seeing on a fairly regular basis. However, if I start seeing “Ladies of the Night” walking down Springbank Drive, then I’ll know I’ve made the wrong decision. ;o)

    • Hey Sarah – thanks for following and leaving your comments! I always love to hear what people think.
      Your post is so funny…”Only in the East end…”

      I’m excited for you about your move. Hopefully you don’t see those ladies of the night…I can’t imagine they’d get much business out there.

      Good luck with your move and I hope you guys will be happy there.

      Keep sharing your comments 🙂

  5. Hey Kelly!

    I just stopped by to check out your site.. super fun!! This article is SOO TRUE. My husband, B, and I were living in a west end apartment building, and a man was shot and taken to hospital just a few apartment buildings down from us. We now live in the east end in a house. We are close to my parents, and live around a lot of people we know and grew up with. This brings some comfort to our surroundings.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thanks for stopping by, checking it out and leaving your comments! Always much appreciate.
      It’s scary, sad and unfortunate what happened. Seems a lot of people have similar stories of some kind. Sounds like you’ve found a nice place to live and I agree with you on the comment about brining comfort to your surroundings.

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