Dear Apartment Guru,
I live in Sonoma County, Calif. and have a problem with the management here at my apartment complex. First, it's a government run (HUD), 55-and-older senior complex, but a lot
of people under 55 live here because of its HUD status.
Well, there are drug dealers living in this complex (they are suppose to be in rehab) and one of them lives right next door to me. He has made it his mission to become very friendly with the management and they feel he can do no wrong. His first impressions are very good and he has them wrapped around his finger. I can't complain to them because I am fearful of them telling him it is me reporting him and the retaliation he could inflict on me. There are people coming around at all hours of the day and night, mostly "sneaking" in and out not wanting to draw attention.
I am under the age of 55 and trying to find a job. I'm an upstanding citizen, have never been in any trouble and because of my good credit, I was allowed to move in here. I didn't know this complex was like this when I moved in 3 years ago.
What can I do? I'm scared and want to move but don't have the money or the job to move just yet.
Any information would help.
-- Not Necessarily the Hero
When I told my boyfriend about your conundrum he replied, "Tell her to get a gun." That is why he is not
the Apartment Guru.
The last thing I want you to do is engage in gunplay with a drug lord. But getting a little power back will go a long way toward making you feel better about your home.
While I completely understand your fears, like most vermin your drug-dealing neighbor is likely more scared of you than you are of him. So while you are working on saving up to move to a sunnier side of Sonoma County, just take a few deep breaths and try not to panic.
Most criminals don't want trouble on their home turf. Ever heard the expression, "Don't sh-t where you eat?" It's like that. Since you are your thug neighbor's upstanding-citizen-next-door, he definitely doesn't want trouble from you.
Sgt. Scott Harvey, a public information officer in Kentucky agrees. "Thank god we don't live in a Hollywood movie," he says, "where the drug dealer is a member of some international cartel with unlimited resources to track down and exact revenge on the `snitches!' "
Harvey suggests that your best bet wouldn't be to go to your building management. Who knows? They might be skimming a little of that mind-altering recreation
off the top for themselves.
"My advice to her is to call her local police department and ask to speak to their drug unit," he says. "We have people call all the time who want to remain anonymous."
In fact, any information you give to your local police department will certainly help them to organize or to continue with an ongoing investigation of your unruly neighbor. And the criminal mind will never even know who "narced" him out.
Meanwhile, don't look like you care about him in the least. Smile nonchalantly when you cross paths. I'd suggest avoiding going to him to borrow butter or collect for the March of Dimes, but be polite.
Just keep your head low.
"I would not advise her to be overly interested in his dealings. But rather, play the part of the clueless neighbor in the neighborhood," advises the officer. In fact, Harvey offers you this gem: Should any of your neighbors ask if you know anything about the guy next door -- "I would say something like, `I don't know ... I don't really pay all that much attention. I'm just so busy.'"
Then get busy finding a job and a new place to live.
Have a question for the Apartment Guru? Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Aparment Guru is Joselin Linder, co-writer of "The Good Girls Guide to Living in Sin" and "Have Sex Like You Just Met." Having rented apartments and houses in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Columbus, OH and abroad in Prague, she knows what it means to live in a home you don't own and still make it homey. Anything she doesn't know, she isn't afraid to ask.