I used to live on San Pablo Avenue, near the Emeryville line, in Oakland, Ca. That area is being yuppified now, but then (1974) it was sometimes a dangerous place to live. Our rule of thumb was, if we only heard six shots or less outside, we wouldn't call the police, because they wouldn't come anyway. More than six, someone was either reloading or shooting back, so we would call. We had the Swami Muktananda Ashram at one end of the block, and the Golden Eagles Black biker gang at the other. It made for the most interesting Sunday afternoons as each group tried to ignore the other's existence. BUt like everywhere else I've lived, it was as dangerous as you made it. Plenty of working class neighbors, got to know 'em, they knew what was what, and we all looked out for each other. I had my place ripped off twice, and once an old guy on the street told me he didn't like me, didn't like white people at all. Worse things could have happened to me if I had been trying to be a drug dealer or a pimp there, but I wasn't into that, so people were either friendly or left us alone. There were plenty of local shops and stores and we made sure that all the merchants knew who we were. My wife felt pretty safe there. We did have a rather large Australian Shepard, who growled at people he didn't like, but even he said that guarding property was not in his contract, as we came home to our cleaned out apartment. They left my guitar, though, and didn't hurt my dog, so I was able to let all that go. I got a lot of good stories from living there, but my kids are sure that I'm making them up!
Seth from China