You just bought your first house and you are getting ready to move into it. You have visited your new domicile once, but you were too excited while buying your home to notice what you passed on the way on the way to it. On your trip to move in, you pass over a set of railroad tracks, and then, you begin to notice a scary pattern: liquor store, church, tattered house, liquor store, church, tattered house, liquor store, church, tattered house. When you finally see a drunk, homeless man, it hits you. You have just moved into the hood. Most homeowners are not sure what course of action to take when they realize that they have bought a home in a bad neighborhood. There are a few ground rules.
1. Move In at Night
In a poor neighborhood, moving out of a house or into of a home should always be done at night. Most poor people move out of their old home at night because they want to take a few extra amenities that now belong to the bank or the funding institution that previously financed their home and is now seizing all assets. You should move into your home at night so that your new neighbors do not get a chance to case all of your stuff. Every person that lives in the hood is not a criminal, but you can bet there are more than a few of them in your neighborhood. And, they are watching you closely. If you move during the day and a criminal sees your big screen television, surround sound system, and iPod station, then you can count on a break-in within a couple of weeks. If you move into your house at night and make sure to move your belongings through the back of the house instead of the front, then no one knows what you have and you may avoid the processes of changing locks, filing police reports, wondering who stole from you, etc.
2. Act Like You Belong
Sooner or later, you are going to have to talk to the people in your neighborhood. In a poor neighborhood, there are a variety of characters who are unruly and frankly unsettling. Just like being with your family during the holidays there will be thugs, drug dealers, whores, and drunks around you at all times. Your first instinct may be to put your head down and not make eye contact with them like you do with your perverted uncle, but that is the exactly what you should not do. There might be a lot of differences between you and your new neighbors, but you have to connect with them if you want to stay in the neighborhood. And, failing to make eye contact is wrong no matter how you do it. If you put your eyes down and ignore your neighbors when they reach out to you, then you will have effectively alienated yourself from them, and they will think that you are scared of them and you will make yourself a target. Just like dealing with bullies in high school, if you are the type of kid that clutches his books and stares at the floor, then you will be antagonized relentlessly. Do not stare at the ground when your neighbors talk to you. And, if you turn up your nose at your neighbors, then the criminals of the neighborhood will assume that you are a snooty, rich asshole and rob you. So, the best course of action when you see a neighbor approaching is to give them a quick head nod, say, “What’s happening?” or “What’s good?”, and keep a steady pace to your destination. Do not say, “What’s up?”, because it makes you sound like you are trying to be cool rather than actually being cool. And, guys who are trying to be cool are targets. You have to portray ease and comfort even when you are frazzled.
3. Do Not Invite The Neighbors Over
Now that you and the guys next door have had a few scattered occasions of small talk together, you may like them, feel like you know them, and want to invite them over for a some beers. Do not do this. Wait until you have been invited to their houses a few times and you have seen how they live before you have any neighbor come to your house. New neighbors can be genuinely good people who want to welcome you to their neighborhood, or they could just be casing your house for valuables. Unfortunately, you will not know which type of neighbor you have until the police show up to your house to dust for fingerprints.
4. Do Not Hang Out on the Corner
A lot of fun things happen on the corner in the hood. It is one of the only places in the Metropolitan areas of cities where drinking in public is allowed. Okay, technically public inebriation is still illegal, but policemen hate being in the hood as much as the residents, so they rarely bother anyone about alcohol. Hood girls will show up anywhere there is music and free drinks, and the type of girl that pops up on the corner is only good at two things, fighting and making babies. This may sound like a red flag to the sane person who is reading this article, but in the hood, you will already be two 40 oz. bottles of Olde English in to a good night. And at that point, anything sounds like a good idea, especially banging that sexy mother of five children without a condom after you have drank enough beer to forget your own name. And, on top of the terrible decisions that you will make on the corner there is always the small possibility that you could get shot. Random shootings happen in poor neighborhoods all the time and most of them are unresolved. Do not hang out late in the streets with your neighbors.
5. Do Not Help Out
You have a reputation in your old neighborhood as a good guy. You help ladies carry their groceries to their cars or into their kitchens, you walk the elderly across busy intersections, and you are always available to give your time for charity. You are genuinely a good person. You have to fight the urge to help people in the hood. That woman that has been stranded at the bus stop for the last hour is not really stranded. She is working. She is a hooker. The innocuous conversation that you just had with her was really a negotiation for her to perform disturbing sex acts with you. Do you remember how hot and bothered she got when you mentioned grocery shopping? Normal women do not behave like that. You can not trust people in the hood. The guy who is stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire or a dead battery in his van is waiting to rob the first sucker that stops and gets out of his car. Do not be that sucker. The guy who keeps passing you on a bicycle is not lost. He is selling crack. You have to be smart enough not to get caught in the traps that lie in the hood.