Posted by: Jennifer | July 10, 2011

moving on

When I first moved to HRM seven years ago, I wasn’t as familiar with the city as I probably should have been, and that showed in my choice of locations to live in. Once I made the decision to leave my roommates and strike out on my own, I picked an apartment based on it’s proximity to my work and it’s location in terms of transit and commercial zones. If I had known then that I was moving into one of the rings of Hell, I would have expanded my requirement list somewhat.

My three years on Brule Street were a study of relative quiet in the midst of chaos. I was able to live without being bothered because I kept my nose out of my neighbours’ business, because I didn’t involve myself with people who were more involved in the unfortunate happenings on the block, and because I never left my apartment after dark. Not once in three years. When I found myself with a new job and some more income, I made the decision to move on. The day after I left that apartment, someone mistook it for a drug dealer’s place and put two bullets in the living room window, in the exact same spot that my couch would have been.

My move to Highfield Park wasn’t much of a physical move in that it’s only three streets over from Brule. At the time, those were three very important streets. It’s sad to say, but my decision to move to Highfield Park Drive was driven by two things — a) the low rent, and b) the fact that the majority of drug dealers in North Dartmouth lived on the same street and they wouldn’t risk bringing the cops down on them by peeing in their own pool. So the dealers did their business over on Pincecrest and Brule and Primrose, and Highfield was relatively quiet.

That was three years ago. Highfield Park Drive is now the proud owner of a new title — the site of the most crime per capita of any other neighbourhood in HRM. The drug dealers have cleared out of their apartments, now being able to afford more luxury accommodations, and they’ve left the street to fend for itself. Police presence is the norm, and I’ve taken to spending entire evenings standing on my balcony, watching domestic disturbances get busted up by The Fuzz. There’s always traffic and yelling and music and noise. And I have reached the point where I am no longer comfortable leaving my apartment building after dark. It’s time to move on.

My apartment in Bedford will be on the first floor of a house — not an industrial-feeling apartment complex. The square footage is a little smaller, and the rent is a little higher. But there will be trees and families and a yard in which I can garden and mow and relax in a hammock. And the grocery store will be three blocks away and I will feel no hesitation about walking there when the light starts to go. I will be safe. It’s a very underrated feeling.

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