I've been using my dark-loving night-owl habits for the forces of good these last few nights, just by going out and walking around the immediate neighborhood in the odd wee hours. I'm out for a solitary stroll at, say, 4 am; no biggie, but at the same time I pay sharp attention to anyone I might encounter while I'm out there. I even make eye contact and say "Hi" to the people I meet (sorry if you're an innocent I inadvertently freaked out).
But I'm in bed by 5 am, so I'd like to encourage the early-rising people to do the same. Do you get up at 4 or 5 or 6 am? Well, put the kettle on and go walk around your block, even if it's in your PJs or bathrobe (nobody will think you are nuts--I've seen lots of people in the U-Village QFC dressed like this). Make your presence known in the streets and alleys, keep your eyes open, then go home and make your first cuppa joe (the kettle will be boiling by then).*
Do you have neighbors with lots of debris in their yards? Junk on their porches? Scrap wood or busted furniture in the alley? Then please, go talk to them in a reasonable, civilized manner, even if they are "just tenants". Getting burned out of your home when you are a tenant is no better than it is if you own the place--if anything, it is worse, as tenants usually don't have renters' insurance to cover their losses.
Maybe I'm naive and idealistic, but I believe that ordinary citizens can do extraordinary things when called upon. The cops and fire department can't be everywhere at all times, but if enough people are willing to go out and be a presence in their neighborhoods at odd hours, noting anything unusual, or enlisting the support of their neighbors, we can actually help by looking out for ourselves. And who knows? Maybe somebody will actually see something that will help get this crazy motherfucker off the streets.
*Coffeesnot that I am, I use a French Press for reference, but if you set up your auto-drip machine, it will take roughly the same amount of time. Heh!
(Cross-posted everywhere relevant.)