What’s with all the Fences and Gates?

Contrary to what some of you may be thinking based on the title, I am not channeling my inner Jerry Seinfeld as I write this article.

I come from a community back in Wisconsin where next door neighbors, even ones who may not really like each other , don’t normally have their entire properties separated by fences and gates. They may maintain a fence along the the backyard to have a controlled area for their children to play or to keep pets, but the front yards are ‘open range’. One of the more unusual things that I have had to get used to since moving from Wisconsin to Sacramento is that everyone has fencing and gates surrounding their ENTIRE properties.

Just as the cityof Sacramentoand the area where I live, North Sac, seem to be divided into separate and cliquish areas, each of the neighborhoods is further divided up by fences and gates made of both wood and metal and stone.

These borders have been hard for me to get used to in the two plus months I have lived here. While I have come to accept the status quo of the division of the city into neighborhoods and the division of my neighborhood into individual perimetered yards, I still catch myself pausing on occasion to wonder how/why this situation developed?

Is it fear of crime especially home invasion? Does it have to do with the fear of the homeless seen on the streets across the city? Is it an attitude left over from the settling of the West? No one I ask can seem to give me an answer as to this major case of parochialism on steroids. As someone, especially someone from the Midwest, raised on stories of the supposed laid-back California ‘live and let live’ philosophy of life, it makes me wonder what is the cause of this isolationist situation which seems to belong more in the Balkans in sunny California!

If anyone out there hunkered down in their gated and fenced property can enlighten me on how and why this situation exists, please let me know. I am very eager to learn the psychology of my new hometown and its residents.

Received my first front page award with this article!  Awesome!!!!!!


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