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In the aftermath of the fire that destroyed the former Paul Blanco aka Cal Worthington dealership at the corner of Franklin Blvd. and Florin Road, I read a lot of hilariously scary comments about the area in the Bee.
Seems a number of individuals drive through the area with their doors locked and a firm grip on the wheel for fear that loiterers will assault them. Some claim even the police keep their doors and windows locked and look straight ahead as they cruise down Franklin and/or Florin.
Boy, you'd think we're talking about driving through Homs in Syria or something.
Just because some people are big and black doesn't mean they're bad guys out assaulting law-abiding citizens.
I'm a white senior citizen and in all my years in the area I've suffered only one traumatizing incident. About ten years ago someone stole a bag of empty soda cans from my patio. It haunts me to this day, but on the other hand, I've constantly walked and driven all around this part of town since the late eighties and if that's the worst crime I've had inflicted upon me, I think maybe I'm better off in South Sac than in a more affluent part of town.
Despite the fact that I'm old and vulnerable and always wear my equally old but expensive wristwatch, I've always been treated with courtesy and respect by everyone I meet.
There is crime in South Sacramento, but there's also crime in all other parts of the city as well. True, Florin Road and Franklin Blvd. are depressed and depressing to look at, but they're trying to make a comeback. People with little cardboard signs are common, but I see them all over Sacramento. I've never seen one assault anyone.
Like everyone else, I don't enjoy seeing loiterers hanging around, whether it be at an intersection with a cardboard sign, hanging around Home Depot or resting in the shade of an abandoned building. But that doesn't mean these people are just waiting to get their hands on some unsuspecting passer-by who forgot to lock the car doors.
Instead of pouring money into a park farther south on Franklin, maybe the city could have pressed property owners to clean up their abandoned properties along Franklin and Florin, or as a last resort, it could have abated the properties and perhaps done something positive with them.
Wherever we go, abandoned buildings attract homeless people and vandalism. Nobody wants to see that. But let's not put the blame on the homeless loiterers who hang around them. They didn't cause the problem; they're just a small part of it.