Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.
A long while back I lived in Harris Park in Sydney and every day after Uni I’d walk home from Granville, Harris Park, or Parramatta station. On three occasions I had altercations on the way home. One wasn’t a problem. Another resulted in me getting 4 stitches in my forehead and losing a worthless mobile phone. The worst of the lot resulted in nothing more than a few bruises. As I wandered home I was approached by a group of youths, I’m not certain of the headcount but it was around 5. One of them asked me for a cigarette, I don’t smoke. Next thing: someone behind me hits me on the head. There was no choice in the matter it was fight and be thrashed or be thrashed anyway (sure, there’s probably some people out there who can fight off 5 attackers – I’m not one of them.) I resisted and got thrashed.
It’s an incident that has played on my mind ever since and altered my behaviour drastically. It wasn’t long before I moved out, found a safer area to live in (Dulwich Hill – inner west), then moved again to a very safe area (Wolstonecraft – northshore). When I move these days the first thing I check is police crime stats. When I inspect an area I spend more time noticing whether or not windows are barred, if there’s broken glass on the road, the level of graffiti, etc. Priority one is the risk-assessment. It’s not just when I’m moving home though, with every step I take I’m measuring up the security of the situation, on the look-out for threats… it isn’t a healthy mindset.
Yesterday in Sydney a 54 year old man was asked for a cigarette, he had none, he was stabbed several times and later died. This was at Granville station, could have been me 5 years ago. Harris Park and surrounds is still a total shit-hole, nothing changes. Don’t live there. Sadly a lot of people don’t have much choice, I was living in Harris Park because that’s where I could afford to live at the time I moved there. It’s a funny old world, with money comes the privilege of improving your chances of not being randomly killed by some arsehole. There’s something broken about that.