More Hoodlum Behavior In Downtown Dickinson, North Dakota

Almost one year ago, I moved from a house in a rural area on the north side of Dickinson, to an apartment in downtown Dickinson.  I went from an area where nothing illegal or criminal ever happened, to where criminal activity is taking place all of the time, every day.

In the almost one year that I have lived in downtown Dickinson, I have seem drug dealing and drug use in the apartments where I live, the police coming and taking people away in handcuffs who are acting insane, vehicles having things stolen out of them, my truck got stolen, drunk or high people crashing through the fence into the canal in their vehicle three times, passed out drunk or high non-residents in the apartment stairwell, non-residents hiding, sneaking, and up to no good on the property several times.  This probably doesn’t even cover everything, and this has been in less than one year.

There are some very nice, tidy, well kept yards and homes in downtown Dickinson that are owned by older retired people, blue collar trades people, business owners, and professional people.  However, there are also some single family homes that have been divided into two or three rental units, and apartment buildings.

In the past, urban planners and property developers probably included apartment buildings in downtown Dickinson in order to fill a need, and in order to balance things out.  There were some residents in Dickinson who did not earn enough money to buy a home, some of them young, some of them old, some of them just starting out, some of them retired, or families that were just getting started.

In Dickinson in the past, there was not much of a need or desire to separate lower income people from higher income people.  In the past, people generally tried to behave and get along, whether they were upper class or lower class, because there were immediate consequences for anyone behaving badly for too long.  In the past, people in Dickinson just did not persist in being disruptive to everyone, it just wasn’t allowed.

Now in downtown Dickinson, the rental houses that have been divided into several units, and the older apartment buildings, have unfortunately become a habitat for poor people who often have a combination of multiple personal problems which include unemployment, illegal drug use, drug dealing, alcoholism, mental illness, theft, burglary, robbery, assault, vandalism, and other criminal behavior.

I began this blog post by writing that in downtown Dickinson where I live, there is crime every day, all day long.  About a month ago, I woke up at 2:00 a.m. and I looked out of my apartment window, there was a strange acting non-resident, who was shuffling around with tiny steps, going back and forth, back and forth repeatedly beside people’s vehicles in the parking lot.

I couldn’t tell what this person was trying to do or why they were behaving like this.  I could tell that it was an older man, and I didn’t know if he had Alzheimers disease, dementia, or if he was under the influence of drugs.  I watched him for several minutes, and then it appeared that although he was acting like he had something wrong with him, he was also looking to see what was in the front seat and the back seat of vehicles.

I telephoned the Dickinson Police, but by the time that the Police arrived, this man had wandered away.  I gave a description to the Police, but they didn’t find him.  When I had to leave for work at about 4:00 a.m., I was able to drive along following this man’s footprints in the snow, to the apartment where he lived a couple of blocks away.

When I got home that night, I asked my neighbors who live in the house next door, if they knew who this was.  They said yes, they knew who this was, yesterday he had let himself into their back yard through their fence gate, and he went and urinated in their back yard behind a tree, he was drunk yesterday.  The neighbor said that if her brother catches him, he is going to beat him.  This is just an example of what happens throughout the day here.

What caused me to write this blog post today, is what happened today, Sunday, at 11:30 a.m.  I walked out to my vehicle to go to the grocery story, and I started my vehicle.  As I was sitting in my vehicle, a gold color station wagon drove past the apartment building where I live going very slowly.  When I drove down the street, and turned the corner, this gold color station wagon had stopped, people got out, and began loading multiple garbage bags into another apartment building’s trash container.

I thought that this was a shitty, sleazy thing to do.  In this gold color station wagon, I could see that they had bags and bags of garbage in their car, and that they were going to fill up this apartment building’s garbage container, and they don’t even live there.

I drove back around the city block, because I thought that these people were going to attempt to do this same thing at the apartment building where I live.  Sure enough, there they were trying to load the garbage container at the building where I live, with the garbage bags from their vehicle.  I drove up to them and I laid on the car horn, I told them that they can’t fill up our garbage container with their garbage from their car.  I told them I was going to call the Police, to have a talk with them, and I drove away.

There are about twenty to twenty-five residents at the apartment building where I live.  Myself, and other residents, sometimes have to wait for the garbage container to get emptied before we can take out our garbage from our apartments.  Sometimes, someone who does not live here, drives up and fills up our garbage container.  The garbage container is about 200 gallons in size, it is just barely adequate for this apartment building, it is not a dumpster.

I telephoned the Dickinson Police non-emergency dispatch number, and the Police dispatcher who was new, said that it was not illegal for someone to do this.  This made me very angry, and I explained to the dispatcher that this is something that the tenants pay for, this is something that the apartment building owner pays for, yes it is illegal for people who do not live here, to fill up our garbage container with bags and bags of their garbage, so that the residents who live here can’t even use it.

The Police dispatcher agreed to have a Police Officer call me, I had the vehicle license plate number,make, and model.  This made me even angrier, besides me catching the person who was probably the one responsible for causing our garbage container to always be full so that the apartment residents can’t even use it, the Police were possibly going to say that there was nothing that they could do about this.

Herein lies a problem which I have noticed for the past year.  If you live in house, and there is someone walking around on your property, hiding behind a garage on your property, parked in a car on your property, passed out on your property, or acting strange around your vehicles on your property at 2:00 a.m., the Police would respond to a call about this with the understanding that this was trespassing or criminal mischief.  However, when this same thing happens at an apartment where there are about twenty to twenty-five residents, even if you explain to the Police that this person that you called them about does not live here, the Police somewhat act like you have less of a right to complain, and the other person who is not a resident of the premises, has somewhat of right to be there.  The Police Officers, are somewhat more in agreement with the caller’s complaint, than the Police dispatcher sometimes.

In other words, if you live in an apartment building in Dickinson, even though it is privately owned property, which you pay rent to live in, the Police and other people, kind of have the impression that it is a public parking lot, a public garbage container, a public hallway, or a public stairwell.

I believe that this is one of the sources of the criminal problems in downtown Dickinson.  Because of these private apartment building properties, being looked at by the Police and other people, as public places, you get this 24 hour, 7 days a week, people wandering through, looking for the opportunity to sell illegal drugs, buy illegal drugs, steal from cars, commit burglary, commit robbery, commit vandalism, or hang out waiting for opportunities to commit crimes.

I wish that the Police in Dickinson, and the residents in downtown Dickinson, would begin to see and re-consider, that the permissive attitude of allowing people to roam around and wander through private property and private property that has a common area, that this is allowing and creating the opportunity for crime to happen.

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