It was the early 1990’s, I was assigned to a part of the division that was renowned for its’ crime statistics. It was the days of the crack epidemic. Though there were many good, solid citizens living and working in this part of town, many of the crew’s locations were littered with used vials and frequented by shady characters.
There were several jobs on my list that needed to be addressed in less than desirable locations, even in that area. One, a secondary junction pole, was a priority. I was inspecting the location which was in front of a multistory apartment building and noticed its’ high volume of traffic coming and going with a gruff looking guy directing them. He did not look like a doorman, and they did not look like tenants.
While I was inspecting another site, one block away, two police officers on foot patrol stopped to talk. I told them about the upcoming work, at both locations and asked them to keep their eyes out for my crew. One of the cops, pointing at the building, said, “You mean that one over there? You do not have to worry about them, those are all heroin junkies, not crackheads. They will not give you a problem.” They both sort of laughed and moved on.
Before leaving, I stopped back at the building to talk to the “director.” Telling him about the planned work, he basically echoed what the cops had just said. He told me that these “customers” were mostly kids from the suburbs looking to score their fix and get out. Despite the setting and his menacing appearance, he was just a guy trying to make a living. Besides, he said, “If anyone bothers your guys, I’ll crack their skulls.”
It was an interesting talk with an interesting person. The job was completed without a problem. No one was bothered and life went on… Just another day!