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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

So Your Neighbor is a Drug Dealer? That's so Miami.

So your neighbor is a drug dealer? That's so Miami.  I can honestly say that throughout my life in Miami I've always had at least one neighbor that was a drug dealer. Whether I was rooming in a chic Brickell Ave Condo, wealthy gated community bliss in Doral, starter condo in Fountainbleu Park, South Beach or the trendy Miami Mimo district; the one constant was the neighborhood drug dealer.

I can also say with certainty that if you live in Miami it generally means a cocaine dealer. However on South Beach "club drugs" were more popular. Run of the mill pot-dealers are a much rarer breed.  I've heard that having a pot dealer as a neighbor is not cool because of the smell. So I guess pill-peddlers and coke dealers are a bit "classier". However drugs are pervasive in Miami and I guess they are a mixed blessing which I learned a few years ago when I attended meetings of the South Florida Methamphetamine Task force. That's when the presenter stated: 

"Cocaine is so ingrained in Miami culture, that it has served as a prophylaxis against the national meth epidemic in that city.

Who would've thought? Cocaine saved Miami from meth. Maybe our city's tagline should read: Miami: come for the coke, leave with all your teeth. 

So, getting back to dealing with your neighborhood dealer. How do you know your neighbor is dealing? There are few simple clues.

Firstly, the vast majority of drug dealers are male and under 40.  They tend to live alone or with other males in the house. They are usually very attractive. Think "sexy bad boy" and you've pegged about three quarters of all the drug dealers in Miami-Dade.  Think, if I brought this one home.....damn,  are my parents going to be pissed.  I don't know what it is about about the drug trade, but being hot and buffed is part of the job requirement. Perhaps the drug cartels require head shots and full body stats for all potential candidates. More likely, they spent a lot of time in the prison gym. It's called "jailhouse hot" for a reason. 
                (Real drug dealers: You think they're pretty now, just wait till they get out of jail)

Secondly, they tend to wear a lot of jewelry. Rolex watches, Gucci bracelets, tacky, chunky jewelry. This, to me is the downside of the drug trade, is the tackiness of it all. Expensive cars too, are part of the whole package. I guess you need to be mobile, so pawning that 24 carat "nugget" style ring when you need to post bail can be useful. 

Thirdly, they're almost always renters. Now I know how we condo owners feel about renters, and I believe drug dealers have given renters a bad name.  Why? Because drug dealers don't take care of the property. They roll down the shades, don't mow the grass and have a steady stream of people knocking on their door 24 hours a day.  It makes condo owners cringe, when they learn there is a single male tenant in the building under the age of 40 who drives an Aston Martin when most of us are driving Fords.  Once you see the gold chains and the bulge at the waistband....you know it's too late....it's probably a drug dealer. Under 40, male and a pair of capri pants....gay. (hence better property values.)

Now you may think you can escape this scourge by moving to a gated or "restricted" community. Wrong. Doormen, security guards, security services are easily corrupted and quickly become "lookouts" for the drug dealer. So unless you tip your building or community staff really well (as much as the drug dealer) gated communities are no real solution.

Can you call the police? Yes, but don't expect much help, and you don't want to hurt your property values by having a major (or minor) drug bust nearby. Also, the drug dealer will know it was you who dropped the dime; remember.... he knows where you live. 

What's the best way to deal with them? Be nice. Get to know them. Ask them about their lives. Invite them over. Sit on your lawn and wave to all the "clients" who knock on the door. Stand nearby and say hello to them as they come and go to buy their drugs. Engage them in conversation. Walk your dog in front at 3AM. Always be floating around. Remember Mrs. Kravits? She had Samantha and Darren scared out of their minds that they might discover that there was witchcraft in the neighborhood. I am sure there were no drug dealers in her neighborhood either. Finally, say nicely "I know you have a lot of friends dropping by at all hours, and the neighbors are starting to take notice."  This has worked for me twice....the drug dealer usually stops dealing from the house or moves away....whichever happens, it's a victory.