Nerdwife and I read this article this weekend. These fatal shootings happened less than 2 blocks from where we used to live. I knew this area, I knew this house. I lived in the North End for 12 years. My family had lived there a lot longer. When I was a kid this neighborhood was a 'safe' place of blue collar families, honest people, and elderly retirees. Neighborhoods go in cycles, and this was no different. Around 1995 the urban rot that had started to infest the rest of the city came to my neighborhood. It came in the form of a crack house across the street. When the retirees moved into nursing homes or passed on, often their children sold their homes to whomever would buy, in most cases slum lords or shady land lords. The people who moved in were a couple, he was a drug dealer, she was a prostitute. For the next 3 years we on my block lived in fear. Because there were all kinds of people all times of the day and night going in and out. We called the police when we witnessed crimes but often everyone would flee the house before they would arrive. In 1998 three people were killed in a pickup truck on the corner of Western Ave and Burgess St in a gang-related hit. When we left in 2004 I thought the neighborhood was starting to swing back in to the upside. Families were moving back in, people were cleaning up their houses and the neighborhood. At least that was what appeared to be happening. The block, 2 blocks down where this happened was still rougher. We needed more police presence. Many of us asked the city. In 2000 my house was broken into, luckily no one was at home and only material things were taken. In 2004 there was another attempt, but our new doors and windows kept them out. When we opened the police call and officer arrived about 3 hours later. He apologized for being so late. He was only one of 3 cars on patrol that night due to budget cuts. St Paul is a city of 310,000 people.