Why street people drink where they do and the important P.I. lesson for you.

This week I want to share with you two reasons why street people tend to drink on the main streets that run through a neighborhood rather than in the back alleys and, more importantly, I want to explain the reason why this is important to you.

Depending on where you work or do surveillance, serve process, maybe even live – there are neighborhoods that have a fairly high number of street people – and you’ll see them tending to sit on stoops and drink more out on the main drags rather than back in the alleys.

Of course, you may be able to think of exceptions when you’re walking down the street and you look down a side street or an alley and you see a group of people sitting back there drinking. In most of those cases, that’s probably more of a regular drinking spot and there’s a certain “safety in numbers”, but that brings me to why you tend to see street people drink on those main drags.

The First Reason

The first reason is that it’s just safer for them to drink along the main streets that go though neighborhoods. While you may look at these people and think of them as perpetrators, they are much more likely to be victims.

They stay out on those main drags because it’s safer for them if they drink and pass out rather than becoming stupefied in a back alley. In an alley they’ll wake up (or come to) without their shoes and without what little possessions they have. They simply will be robbed back there.

Sometimes you hear about a person being killed over a beer. For street people this is one of those times. A guy can come out of a Qwickie Mart with a beer and a pack of cigarettes and other street people see this. If they feel they can take it from him (or maybe that he “owes” them from a previous time), they’ll follow the guy back into a back alley, beat him and take his beer and cigarettes.

On the other hand, if he stays on the main drag, there’s a much better chance he’s going to remain safe. Safety is the first reason street people tend to drink on the main streets in a neighborhood.

An important side note…

Make no mistake, a street person will hustle you for a dollar if they get a chance. (Please, keep in mind, I’m speaking in generalities here.) I’m speaking here of street people who are criminals and “hustlers”. It can be dangerous to deal with street people if they’re off their meds or drunk or high at that particular moment.

Literally, something as “small” as a person burning a hole in their tent – that type of thing – if you catch these people at the wrong time, it could turn ugly for you.

HUGE TIP: That applies to any human being, so don’t drop your guard on this job even with some rich, “high class” person!

The Second Reason

The second reason street people drink on the main drags – and this may be more obvious to you – but that’s where the cash is. That’s where they can run their hustles.

It’s easier to sit on a stoop on a main street and give their “pitch”, their hustle for why they need money.

I like this one: “I just got out of the hospital and I need a buck and a quarter to get on the bus to get home.”

Whatever their particular scam or hassle is (and there are some very creative ones!), in my experience, they’re all 100% lies. The money they get on the street will go straight into drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you don’t help these people. Just be smart about it. The way I like to help them is to give to a local charity. Maybe there’s a parish in that area – the St. Vincent De Paul Society – something like that.

Certainly there are food providers, clothing providers and shelters right there in that neighborhood. I give to those and I don’t feel bad when I’m asked for some “spare change” and I say, “No, I can’t help you out.”, because I contribute to legitimate organizations where they can get what they claim they need.

So, the number two reason they tend to stay on the main drag and drink is because that’s where the money is. That’s where the people are that they can panhandle.

Why this is important to you…

Why is this important to you? Why, as an investigator, do you care whether they hang out in the back alleys or on the main drag?

When you understand the “why” of where they hang out, that means you’re seeing things from their perspective – and that’s important.

And this is a key skill for you as an investigator. Whether you do an interviews, serve subpoenas, do skip tracing, (or whatever!), you have to put yourself in the other guy’s shoes and look at the situation from his perspective.

And I don’t mean just for street people! Consider the other – arguably far end of the social spectrum – a professional like a doctor or a lawyer.

Doctors are really good example. I can think of one case in particular where I had to serve a Medical Doctor. It was one of the rare cases where I called ahead and she was very unpleasant about it on the phone. Very unpleasant.

I knew she was concerned about being embarrassed. She was worried about what her staff and patients would think about here being served legal papers.

So, when I went in to serve her, I wore a jacket and tie. I went in as a gentleman. If you had seen me come in, you couldn’t tell the difference between me and a patient. Heck, you might of thought I worked there!

When she saw me approach and bring her the papers this way, it really changed her perspective of what she thought it was going to be like.

I was able to understand her perspective – adjust accordingly and had a very pleasant service of process. She told me, “If you need to serve me again, just give a call anytime.”

The lesson to take away is put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. It’s going to make you a much better private investigator.

By the way if you want to learn more solid things about private detective work in the real world, get a copy of my special report If You Want To Be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things by signing up right here…

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Committed to your success as a private investigator,
Larry Kaye, P.I.

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