Yesterday, I took off to Frankfurt for a photography project. Frankfurt is one of those places that I tend to admire. I lived around the area in 1978 and 1979. I'd jump on a subway car.....go into the city,....and walk from one end of town to the other end.
Frankfurt has high-end appeal.....and low-end appeal. You can run around the shopping district and be surprised at the draw of crowds. You can also walk around the train-station area and find places that it's best to forget.
When I got to Frankfurt in 1978, you could walk outside of the train station and immediately note that it was a seedy part of town.....low-brow pubs, trampy strip clubs, and brothels. No matter when you walked though.....you felt fairly safe. There were drugs in Frankfurt, but it was 99-percent marijuana, half-a-percent of LSD, and a half-percent of heroin.
In 1984 when I went back.....the area had changed a bit. The area out front of the train station had become this drug sales yard, with cocaine as a substantial drug. Cops? You rarely saw them. The interior of the train station had seedy characters running around, and the subway areas around the station were all 'infected'....it wasn't a place that you hung around.
I came through Frankfurt in the 1990s and spent an hour walking around. Cops were now walking within the train-station and subway areas.....no seedy characters within the area. The weird folks had moved on out into the red-light district. Drug sales were easily accomplished.....if you wanted anything, this was the place to buy it.
So I went back yesterday to walk the railway station and the subway area. Pure and clean. Renovated in the past couple of years. This was a place where you felt safe.
Coming out of the subway area to the first 500 feet of Kaiser Strasse? The homeless guys had all been herded out of their bunk area....so around eight folks (guys and gals) were standing there....drinking coffee or beer at 9 AM. Everyone was smoking and you could tell they were all heavy dopers or former dopers. No dangers there on the Kaiser Strasse....as far as I could see.
So I walked a block over, to Taunusstrasse. Once you got on the streeet, this was 'heron city'. Guys were actively selling it. Guys and gals were 'cooking' it right there in front of you, with the needle ready to shoot-up. In a matter of five minutes, I'd seen at least six 'deals' made and three groups of folks shooting up.
I don't think the city has any interest in messing with these folks....if you did....they would just move onto the city parks (where you really DON'T want them to reside). Leaving them in the red-light district? It'll cure folks eventually of any desire of operating a brothel or visiting as a customer.
It's odd how things have progressed since 1978. All you had to worry about then was mostly marijuana, LSD, and Heron. You never saw anyone using it on the street, and it was just a sale in passing. Today? Toss meth, pain-killers, cocaine, bath salts, and a dozen-odd prescription deals onto the pile. Then you have folks using the stuff right there in front of you. As you walk down the street....all you see is zombie-like eyes and people living on borrowed time.