I’m just saying it as i saw it, living and working in Bristol. I didnt hate it so don’t get me wrong. The dog s**t firstly was mental, and it was like obligitory to have a dog pile right outside your front gate. If we stick in my road, we regularly had stones thrown at the house windows by groups of kids no older than 12, a burnt out car was common to find and not just on the weekend. A policeman told me they would steal cars to drive down to St Pauls to pick up drugs and then burn them when they got back. They nicked ordinary family cars as they were less likely to be noted when they got down there. Not before racing around the estate crashing into things burning the tyres and racing the engine to extreme ……..mmmmmmmm that noise …..so restful. Mixed with sirens and car horn, the flashing blue light in the front rooms …..just so you’d know it was close tonight.
Arson was a problem with garages being burnt down in the night, my 80yr old neighbour had his double glazing removed and house burglared twice, the spotlight of the police helicopter often shone round our way. I worked shifts and was always nervous coming and going in the garden to the car at night. Moving further into our estate, the empty houses through eviction were boarded and further vandalised sometimes burnt out, as childrens broken toys were mashed into front lawns that had maybe another burnt out car driven on to. The smell of the melted wheely bin still hanging. Every piece of street furniture, street lamps, road signs etc were mishapen and vandalised……..and the effort here was admirable, to melt a hole in a plastic bus shelter with a lighter takes effort. Any effort to make it better seemed to be a target. I remember a playing field that was sold off for housing had to have a park set aside by the developers, they planted trees which were broken down within the year, and I mean every single one was snapped in half, the things for the kids were broken and then removed. The CCTV cameras at the top of tall, spiked posts did nothing to make me feel safe at night.
My locals, The Cross of St George, Westbury Park Tavern and The Bear and staff…………(which had a pub sign of a bear tied to a staff :-)) on a Saturday were quite lively. The traffic at the end of my road was constant like a river of flowing metal, my son had asthma. Someone was shot and killed in a house just up the road and a nurse at the hospital not far away was battered nearly to death by an LSD crazed nutter. The local shops were hang outs for 13-15 year olds who would coerce money for cigerettes and drink, which got worse with begging with a stuffed t shirt around fire work night……..dont talk about fire work night thats another story. I fondly remember the pavements covered in spit and disgared gum, and sometimes used needles, smeared with s**t, and having to clean the wheels on the kids pram before it came in the house.
My car was nicely keyed and I had my credit card stolen and used. I nearly got involved as a witness to what the police described as ‘serious incidents’ twice, one I think with drugs and one with a shooting. Driving was the best way through Stokes Croft, St Pauls and Fishponds at night as they were too dangerous. I have friends who were viciously mugged, one beaten with a pole and left for dead in a alley for his mobile and friendship bracelet??? I did not like Lawrence Hill at night at all. Gang related violence was not over talked if the police needed to carry machine guns. Prostitutes with eating and drug disorders openly work the redlight districts 24/7, overseen by pimps on corners and are fairly regularly found murdered in some part of the city. At night it’s really obvious and locals are plagued by the fall out of crack cocaine and a dodgey sex trade.
The murders in the news are not good and the news in general is gloomy. Stabbings shootings muggings, sexual assualts/rapes and murders. One of my colleagues didn’t come to work one day as his wife murdered him. Women dare not walk around at night without a rape alarm. The faces of pensioners with black eyes peering off of the front pages isn’t news it’s just sad, ‘beaten for the price of a bag of fish and chips’, was one headline that I remember.