As I mentioned in a previous post, the first thing I noticed when visiting the city of Los Angeles was the number of homes and businesses that had their windows and doors protected with metal bars.
Please do not take this posting out of context, I think LA is a great city and this post is one of several. This was just a local uniqueness that I could not ignore, it stood-out as being more common here than other places I am familiar with. I felt completely safe everywhere I went in LA, which is probably why seeing these little prisons everywhere seemed so odd.
I don’t want to be a hypocrite, after experiencing a home invasion in Winnipeg, Manitoba a few years ago, I myself had window bars installed. But these bars were much less intrusive than the ones I saw around me in LA. I will do a posting of my former home and you will be able to see them for yourself. I was never comfortable in that home again and I did eventually escape my own “prison” when I moved back to Toronto in 2012.
When asked about my first LA impression I mentioned to two different local Los Angelers my surprise of seeing so many imprisioned-looking homes and businesses. “What bars? Oh, you only find those in certain neighbourhoods, ” they both suggested, separately. Really? My camera and I, we didn’t agree. I guess locals just don’t notice them but I could not help but notice that they dominate many neighbourhoods South of Downtown, and North of Downtown, and on many side streets of Hollywood, and in little pockets pretty much everywhere I wandered. And the one apartment I visited, it had a metal bar door in addition to an exterior door, which I had never seen before. (True, I am yet to visit Brazil.)
It could be that bars are like monitored alarm systems. If you live in a crime-prone neighbourhood, a criminal will look for the weakest link to penetrate. If most homes have monitored alarms and one house doesn’t, it will be the easiest and most likely target. Same with bars. If some of your neighbours have barred-windows and you don’t, you will be a more likely target for a break-in, a weak link. So if a few neighbours install bars, it is very likely to spread.
If someone moves from a dangerous neighbourhood to a safer, more upscale one, they may feel more comfortable having bars installed in the new home, even if not really needed. Its a security measure they are used to having. Once one home has bars, whether needed or not . . . US media does not exactly promote a feeling of safety and comfort in ones home, news stations dramatize stories to get the most attention making them more exciting to compete with other entertainment. (Yes, news has become entertainment.) “Could you be in danger of being raped and killed in your sleep? Tune in at eleven for . . . . .” Yeah, right. Perfect pre-bed focus. Exaggerated, hyped violent news stories. Thanks for the window bars.
Whatever the cause and whatever the current situation is, I noticed the prison-looking windows and doors throughout the city because they are something I am not used to seeing.
White metal looks so much friendlier than black. These are nicely designed too.
This is a church parking lot.
This is a pre-school.
Churches were clearly not immune.
This independent fast food restaurant seemed to need to protect the built-in outdoor seating.
My local LA friends could be right, that there are only a few homes in Los Angeles that have barred windows. It is not impossible that I just happened to wander through neighbourhoods that did not reflect the norm. This is just what I saw, what I noticed, and what for me was unique.
My next posting will show some sights of Hollywood.
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