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North Champaign

I live in the north part of Champaign. I cannot help but to think about how I am constantly locking my doors and rechecking the locks a second time just for security measures. I also am constantly doing saftety checks when I get in my car and getting out of my car when arriving from the store, work, or church.

When we first moved to this area about nine years ago, I can remember not coming outside that often unless I was making my journey to and fro. When we transitioned to our new residency, within a week I noticed my neighborhood being reported on the news as a crime scene. Living next door to a rented house, we have changed neighbors at seven times! The upkeep of their yards and living space was lacking. I found myself constantly outside picking up trash in my lawn from where they had put out the trash carlessly and garbage being blown all over the place. I can also remember lying in my bed and hearing gunshots outside my window, when my oldest daughter was a seven-month-old infant. I again watched the news only to find out that a man had been shot just about 100 feet from my bedroom window.

Over the summer, there are constant sleepless nights because the cars congregating on our block with youths listening to their loud music, drinking, swearing, and various other activities. I also live near a park where last summer a previously alleged child molester was reported trying to lure young girls away from the park. I could no longer walk around the park for exercise with my two daughters for fear of stranger danger. I had to drive over to Centennial Park or walk over to Westside Park.

Also, this last past summer, we again got new neighbors, and they had a loud party that triggered my dog to get upset and break out of our six-foot privacy fence. Then they called animal control to pick her up because they claimed to be afraid her. We could not afford to get her spayed it, so they had put her to sleep. This caused a loss of one of my members, which upset my daughters immensely. They apologized but their words cannot restore a pet that had been in our family for nine years.

To sum in all up, many people do not take pride in where they live. They neglect the upkeep of their property, and do not take pride in where they live. They feel that because the rent it, they do not have to care for it. I deeply miss the west side of Champaign because I notice the differences in the neighborhood, the neighbors and the care of houses. It is good to live in a house but a house is not a home if you do not enjoy living in it! People should take more pride in their homes. They do not realize that this is a reflection of who they are and what they represent. If you do not care about your neighborhood then why should your neighbors! Why don't we all just leave our lawns unattended, throw trash on the ground, and live in our houses and forget our neighbors. I want my house to represent who I am. I want my neighbors to be happy to live next to me. It all starts within! If you do not make the effort then who will! Just a thought