Thanks for insights Kevin! I do suppose knowing people there helps.
I grew up in the hills of NH and never really knew anyone in the cities expect a few cousins. I do remember visiting them in the early 70's when there were an awful lot of heroin junkies on the streets, a lot of them just back from the War. Our parents always told us to stay away from them and off the streets, but of course we never did. Junkies never gave us a hard time, in fact they were pretty cool. Weren't a lot of gangs then either in the city that we visited. Of course, all that has changed.
A few years back, I was helping Mayer Tree Service out of Essex MA do some crane work in Lawrence MA. This is a horribly crime written city and I was told to stay with the truck until the police detail showed up and we had to shut down the road for the crane. Vehicles and gear were watched at all times on that job.