Gimme ShelterI'm posting this for the webmistress, who is unable to post now...
I have a theory of why our friendly neighborhood drug dealers have cut back staff and operating hours from their man on the street operations. Well several theories. Lack of places to duck and weakening local networks.
When I arrived 5-6 years ago there was a vacant house on almost every street on every block. Vacant houses make for excellent office space for certain underground activies. Also if you hung out in front of them or sat on the steps, who was to shoo you off or call the cops? In addition to vacant houses filling up with residents, the residents in those houses, not so tolerant of the drug dealing. They tend to call the cops and get angry and frustrated when the police are a no show. Despite that, they keep calling. Maybe a little tolerance is given by a bleeding heart, but I'm guessing the constant hanging out, the violence and the senseless littering can turn a heart cold.
There are also a lack of lookouts, fewer neighborhood kids to apprentice and fewer poor lonely moms to recruit. There aren't as many local people to draw upon as customers or subcontractors. More noise than signal. Sure you have the homeless and those wandering in for the methadone clinic, but there is the competition for them from other neighboring enterprises and the many of them tend to head out after a certain time.