Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peterson Avenue

Last week if I read about a 76 year old grandmother being stabbed to death on Peterson Avenue, I would not have known where that was. I got to the library early on Thursday and took a walk around the block. I stopped to take photos of a mural I used to pass as I wandered during my homeless days. I looked at the street sign so I could mention the corner where the mural is. Peterson, although I would have said street, not avenue. The cross street is 14th.

The grandmother's body was found on Saturday morning at 11:04 AM. She lived on the 1400 block of Peterson Avenue, or somewhere quite close to the mural. When I walked Thursday, gangbangers were on my mind. Probably because I keep noticing their new graffiti just about everywhere I walk. There was a bunch of people sitting in a front yard and rather than walk past them I jaywalked, catty-corner to the mural. I headed back to the library on that side of the street. There was no good reason for me to think the people were gangbanger teenagers that day, I just did.

There was another shooting and death on the 400 block of Walnut Ave. Walnut is a block east of Peterson. I was surprised to read the violence was so far south in Long Beach ~ blocks from the beach ~ not so surprised of the violence on the 1400 block, due to it's closeness to Anaheim Street. A 15-year-old boy also died by gunshot on Saturday around noon. I do not know where Washington Place is, but the paper said "Central Long Beach" and being on the 800 block, that is between 8th and 9th Streets, I am thinking that killing may also be in the vicinity of the other two deaths.

A neighbor of the 15-year-old boy said the neighborhood is violent with late night shootings being common. She does not go out after dark and the daytime killing has her afraid to go out during the daylight hours. The dead boy was not affiliated with any gangs, simply loved skateboarding.

This is too sad. Gang violence had been decreasing in Long Beach and seems to be on the rise in the past few years. I think the City government needs to spend more time on ridding the city of gang members ~ simply patrol the areas where they post their gang signs for a start ~ and less time on patrolling the beach for cigarette smokers, turning the homeless into criminals and next up: people with trucks or vans. No more parking them on the streets. I wonder what people who live in the myriad apartment complexes will do when street parking their vehicles becomes the latest Long Beach crime.

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