In a neighborhood just south of Broadway and east of Central Avenue, is a house that resembles an old military bunker.  It is cylindrical at the top and beige all over with no windows.  I couldn’t tell whether anyone was living in it or not but there was a car  parked in front.  Most of the houses in this neighborhood look run down and dilapidated.  Almost all of them have bars covering all the openings to the house.  According to Camilo Jose Vergara, from Bunkering the Poor, “Fortification epitomizes the ghetto in America today, just as back alleys, crowded tenements, and lack of play areas defined the slum of the nineteenth century.”  Especially, as crime is a problem in poor areas of the city, the need to secure homes and businesses is an issue. 

            Even the local businesses just across the street have razor wire on top of their chain link fences to keep trespassers out.  The newer communities that have moved in a few miles away seem to understand the same security issue and have built giant walls and gates to surround the perimeter of the community.  However the walls of the newer communities look better and cleaner than the ugly wrought iron bars covering the windows and doors of the older houses.  They are both designed to do one thing, keep people out. 

            Vergara states that, “Despite the profusion of physical barriers against crime, the most effective defense is social, as people watch after one another’s dwellings, question strangers, and call the police.”  So neighbors need to watch out for one anther.  Well how are they supposed to do that when they are isolating themselves with all the barriers and enclosures?   


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