Potholes may seem trivial, but they can be indicators of overall street quality and prove costly for low-income residents whose vehicles are damaged from large holes.
Tearing down vacant, privately owned structures is difficult. But why can’t publicly owned buildings be razed or fixed up? Lacreitia Jamison points to abandoned school buildings.
In low-income areas, renters are prevalent and the degree of tenant and landlord neglect is stark. As a long-time homeowner, Herbert Booker is not happy with what he sees.
Chris Walker said overgrown brush covers street signs, blocks intersections and obscures traffic, making driving on some of Oklahoma City’s back roads too dangerous.
Resident: Carter Evans, West Oklahoma City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaFFCKtlQJ4 Context: Evans has struggled with addiction and mental and physical health problems for years, but in 2012 he was able to get effective help. That hasn’t happened with his son, who Evan says is 42, drinks and takes speed, and is living on the streets. “I don’t know…
Lack of Street Lighting
Resident: Mekeisha Daily, Northeast Oklahoma City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5JidlzEs5I Context: Areas on the northeast side lack adequate streetlights. Mekeisha Daily would like to see the city install better lighting, which she believes will help cut down on crime in the area. She is looking to move because she doesn’t feel that she or her kids are safe.…
Resident: Linda Campbell, Northeast Oklahoma City https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMZJ1xlDNj8 Context: Campbell recently moved to Oklahoma City from Midwest City. She enjoys how close her home is to her job and sees potential in the area. She purchased the lot next to her and wants to purchase the lot on the other side as well. She wants her…
Low Voter Turnout
Leroy Davis speaks with a raw eloquence about what he feels is at the heart of a poor quality of life in south Oklahoma City. He sees one overriding reason for the lack of “the vote.”
Running Stop Signs
Drivers running stop signs are a common sight for Rutledge Murray. He wants to see police to step up traffic enforcement.
Lack of Teachers
Oklahoma City Public Schools is struggling to recruit teachers. Karen Grissom says that hurts students in high-poverty schools.
Not Reporting Crimes
A stretch of the city’s west side is beleaguered by crime, but apartment manager Yesenia Duque says many tenants refuse to report crimes.
No Place to Walk
In low-income neighborhoods, more people walk, whether to the store or a bus stop. But as William Bowen says, a scarcity of sidewalks channels them into the street.
The contrasts of rich and poor define all cities in part, but Daniel Buckmaster sees deterioration as a growing threat to neighborhood stability and family finances.
Bilingual Storm Alerts
Oklahoma’s Hispanic population is growing. Isis Palomino said that means more work is needed to ensure storm alerts are available in Spanish for those who can’t speak English.
As a librarian, Gloria Melchor is devoted to the value of reading and writing. That’s one reason she views the excessive graffiti on library walls and other structures in neighborhoods as an affront.
Police Response to Burglary
Elizabeth McCurly’s home was burglarized. What were her expectations for police response, and what response did she get?
Keeping kids out of trouble means keeping them active outside of school hours. Everett Johnson wants to see more community centers to provide activities that keep students off the streets and away from gangs.
Oklahoma City’s police department is already spread thin, but residents like Nora Avalos want to see more police patrols to crack down on neighborhood crime.
Speeding In Neighborhoods
The cars barrel down the hill past Kristy Trejo’s home and her children playing in the front yard. With modest means, she wonders what she could do to cause police to target the lead-footed drivers.
Open Carry Gun Law
Oklahoma implemented open carry gun laws in 2012. Alvin Smith, who supports concealed carry laws, said he has concerns about openly carrying a gun as a black man in Oklahoma.
Traffic Near Schools
Traffic near urban schools can be be horrible at the beginning and end of the day. Justin Hunt said it needs to be easier for schools to work with the city to alleviate traffic jams while improving safety.
Drug abuse is a common concern in many low-income neighborhoods. Beth Thomas said her home has been burglarized by people looking for quick cash to buy methamphetamine.
Cheap food is not always healthful food. Chauncey Shillow said this is reflected in the obesity problems he has seen in south Oklahoma City.
Cars in Oklahoma City are often stolen by someone who needs a ride or to sell for scrap. Oscar Matute never saw his truck again after someone drove off with it in the middle of the night.
No Stop Signs
Many intersections on slow residential streets do not have stop signs in Oklahoma City. Preston Thompson said this is a traffic issue that needs to be addressed.
Castillo Soto said the first thing he noticed when he moved from Kansas City is that few people have basements or storm shelters, especially those in low-income apartments. That was sobering for Castillo Soto now that he lives in the heart of Tornado Alley.
Police Response Times
Jones said it is a challenge getting police to respond to minor crimes in his neighborhood. In one instance, he can recall calling 911 for a property crime, but an officer never showed up.
Jenkins said it’s difficult for widows such as her to keep up with home maintenance. Many are elderly and physically unable to do the work, lack the technological know-how, or do not have Internet to learn how to do the project themselves.
Artecia Thompson recently moved from California and thinks that strategies used there could help promote repair and occupancy of abandoned homes in Oklahoma City. That would help revive neighborhoods.
For Vernon Fisher, the hassle of waking up three hours early to make sure he caught his bus to work became too much and he stopped relying on public transit.
As an avid swimmer, Moore is worried about the disappearance of public pools in her area. After living in Colorado for over 20 years, Moore returned to Oklahoma City a few years ago and noticed that all of the pools she used to swim in are gone.
A lifelong resident of the east side, Raymond Thomas wants city developers and officials to know his community needs the same beneficial essentials that other parts the city have. That includes closer access to grocery stores with affordable prices and variety of healthful foods.
The Carters, who are parents, said an abandoned apartment complex at the end of their street is both an eyesore and a public health hazard. But can anyone do anything?
Neighborhood Watch Involvement
Tina Bean, a member of her neighborhood association, is concerned the newest generation of homeowners aren’t getting involved with neighborhood watches or associations. Neighborhood safety will suffer without active participation, Bean said.
Jamey Alexander would like to see the growth and improvements that revitalized downtown Oklahoma City come to his neighborhood. Alexander said people in areas with high poverty need access to sustainable careers instead of dead-end jobs.
Mistrust of Police
Daran Steele, a pastor at New Union Baptist Church has lived in Oklahoma City all his life. He said his neighborhood used to be a better place to raise a family. He also remembers not being in constant fear of being harassed by police.