If I sit on the settee in my living room, immediately opposite is a low wall bordering a garden. The usual reason I am on the settee is to watch TV or read, but I am often distracted by what is happening opposite. It is a gathering place for young men (and occasionally an older man) to sit until the local celebrity comes out to greet them. To the uninitiated he would simply be called a drug dealer, but to those privy to closer acquaintance, he is indeed a celebrity, if only Z listed. If you were to sit and watch all day, you would witness him going up and down the road being greeted by the many young men living here. He is pleasant and always has a smile on his face; perhaps the result of a successful business. Who am I to judge? The people who come to see him are all of an age deemed capable to be able to make life decisions.
What does annoy me is the fact that when the visitors leave, they often leave litter behind and I am the one who goes and picks it up and disposes of it. Occasionally I will go out and ask them politely to take their rubbish with them. When I do this I am invariably met with polite responses and apologies. However, I cannot man a 24hr patrol and so it is an ongoing problem.
Should I be more concerned about the reason behind the high volume of traffic brought about by dealing drugs on my doorstep? I probably should, because it is yet another reason why the area is on a downward spiral. I get annoyed because the dealer keeps them away from where he lives but apparently has no qualms about where else he does his business. There is no attempt at secrecy, either. Drugs are openly traded and on one occasion a neighbour saw him throw a deal into a car. There seems to be a general acceptance, even amongst the few older people living locally. Maybe for the young men living here it is a positive bonus – drugs on the doorstep.
Perhaps the main reason it is generally accepted by the local population is that it is all done in a congenial way. The people that buy and the person that sells are usually polite and apart from occasional groups congregating, they do not behave in an anti-social way. Crime statistics for the area are lower than the national average. In addition there are only a couple of households in the road with young children, and these are the households one would imagine would have the strongest feelings about open drug dealing. Finally, it is generally accepted that only marijuana is being dealt, and for many this is the mild end of drug dealing, whatever the arguments may be against it.
For myself, whilst it annoys me sometimes, my own priorities lie with other aspects of the neighbourhood, and these are the first things I would like to see change.