In a recent interview I talked about how people use the word NIMBY (which stands for “not in my backyard”) to shame people who take a stand for their community, but if you’re doing the same in a low income neighborhood, you’re called a hero. If someone wants a safe place to work and raise their family, why is one applauded while the other is ridiculed because of their zip code?

The bottom line is:  we should all be NIMBYs. Every single one of us.

Do you know what I don’t want in my backyard? Drugs, violence, burglary, robbery, theft, car break-ins, vandalism… all things that my Land Park neighborhood almost never experienced until the passing of Prop. 47, which decriminalized drug use (meth and heroin) and serial theft and is responsible for the homeless epidemic in California.

I, along with my group Land Park Society, have been documenting the crime in our neighborhood for almost two years. Here is a snap shot of a few incidents in a seven-day period in my community, which has been one of the safest for decades in the city of Sacramento.

— A known meth-addicted transient in the area, who has a long rap sheet of violence and is not a California resident, was masturbating on a home owner’s property 150 yards from an elementary school. He was arrested for trespassing, indecent exposure and drug charges only to be seen in the same area a few hours later. Every day since, he has been masturbating in public, and a few days ago, he punched a security guard.

— While in a restaurant one late afternoon, I saw a transient come in and start yelling and harassing customers. He then tried to start a fight with people outside before running into oncoming traffic. Ten minutes later, another transient was making a disturbance at the restaurant next door. The police had to be called.

— A known transient to the area was camping at a middle school with large piles of junk. He would scream profanities and threats at people walking by. He then moved on to a nearby restaurant and would ride his bike down my street, following the UPS truck attempting to steal packages. He was caught on video by a homeowner stealing items from their front porch.

— While walking my dog with a friend, I saw a known transient to the area, violently punching himself in the face and screaming he wanted to rip his own eyes out. He proceeded to walk into a store and steal a drink and then go over to an ice cream shop, where multiple children were, and continue his tirade. I called the police for a welfare check. They made contact with him, but he did not meet the standard for a 5150. They offered him services, for which he turned down.

— A man broke into a home while the residents were sleeping and stole their computers and wallets. I found some of the discarded items (paperwork) on my lawn.

— A known transient to the area, who had been throwing rocks into oncoming traffic, set up camp on a homeowner’s front yard.

— Transients broke into a home for sale and squatted for several days.

— A car was stolen from one homeowner and then driven to another street where the suspects broke into several other vehicles.

— My neighbor caught a man riding his bike onto a resident’s property, trying to steal their bike that was locked to the gate.

— A teenager locked his bike outside of a store, which he had just inherited from his grandfather, only to see a transient stealing it as he was coming outside (the store has had several issues with this man).

This does not include the drug-addicted transients we see passed out in front of businesses or homes, every day. This does not include the stabbings and shootings we’ve had in broad daylight at transient camps. This does not include the RVs, whose inhabitants are making, selling and doing drugs, and are illegally parked and disrupting our farmer’s market, one of the largest in Northern California. This does not include the stores like Target and Walgreens, which are stolen from multiple times a day or the naked, passed out transients with needles in their arms in the Starbuck’s bathroom.This does not include the dirty needles and human feces we see daily or the countless times we’ve been threatened or harassed.

Do not let anyone shame you because you want what is best for your neighborhood, because you want to feel safe in your own home or during a walk with your children and pets or while eating at a restaurant. We are all heroes for demanding better from our elected officials whose salaries we pay. And by embracing the word NIMBY, you take the power away from the people who are using it to silence you.

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