FAIRFIELD — There isn’t much that happens in the Grande Circle neighborhood that Ibrahim Mohammad doesn’t know about.
The Major Market employee and 10-year resident makes it his business to keep an eye on the streets. As the only store within blocks of Grande and Villa circles, the foot traffic there is nonstop.
Even with that many people in and out, his store front is immaculate. He said loiterers don’t even think about hanging out in the lot, which is plastered with signs that stress the 10-minute parking times.
The immigrant from Dubai refuses to let criminals get the best of him, or the neighborhood.
Mohammad confronts those who don’t live in area. He routinely calls police. He has the ear of his neighbors if need be.
He’s exactly the type of person Fairfield police are looking to team with in order to improve safety in several areas around town, which is fine with Mohammad.
“People have pulled guns on me. I’m not scared of you. It’s not snitching if I’m here in front of you saying it was you that did it,” Mohammad said.
Crime Prevention Specialist Jeff Conner said Mohammad was pushing for the recent public safety meetings from the beginning. Conner said he hopes more people step up and take ownership of their areas.
“Everybody knows him. He sees a lot and is a good person. He’s looking out for us,” Conner said. “He wanted us to do the meeting. He was begging for it.”
Mohammad is a fast-talking man with a strong accent who can rattle off several incidents where he came face to face with those committing crimes, or who were about to.
“They stand on the corner and jump people,” Mohammad said. “That’s their job.”
If he can’t intervene, he calls the police to take care of it.
Oftentimes he said he will report the people to apartment managers, who he said aren’t doing enough to corral their tenants. He said a combination of being scared and simply not wanting to get involved has allowed some to do as they please in the complexes.
“Be a man and do it. Call,” Mohammad said. “If you don’t do it, you may become the next victim.”
Mohammad said many apartment managers won’t answer or return his calls. When they do speak, he said little is accomplished. The best response he can get from some is that they took pictures of people loitering who didn’t belong.
“So you took the picture? What are you going to post it on Facebook?” he said with a laugh.
Mohammad said he knows there’s a risk in putting himself out there, but said the alternative is letting criminals take over. That is not an option for him.
“If I die, then it’s my time,” he said. “This is my town. I have to take care of it.”
Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.