In the beginning of this project, I knew little of what I was going to do or how I was going to achieve it. I had chosen the town in which I had lived much of my life, Brownsburg. This midsized suburb of Indianapolis sat to its west; this location allowed for my father to commute into the city for work every day. Hence why my family moved here from our former home of Owensboro, Kentucky. The other reason was the fact my father was laid off due to departmental budget cuts. With this connection, I decide to look at all aspects of how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected Brownsburg.
I began by looking for crime statistics, this was challenging. Prior to the pandemic my home town had little to no crime. What did occur was the kind of crime that would get you community serves at worse! Drunken disorderly, speeding, drunk driving, maybe vandalism if the cops were lucky! I could find the statistics of crime in town 2000 to 08 and even one website had the statistics up to 2019, but nothing past 2020 could be found on any web cite I could find. That was till I found the crime report form the town police themselves! How I missed that during my search I could not say but I had the information strait from the houses mouth.
I read through the 2020 report and found that there was indeed an increase in crime in the year of 2020. There was an increase in use of force and in the crimes that I have already listed as the most common in town. But this increase in crime was most dramatic in the latter than the former. There was only a sight increase in use of force by police, mostly just physical restatement rather than the use of firearms. The most violent things got were a handful of taser applications, most likely of drunk drivers and possible a vandal.
Though this information was interesting it wasn’t enough to build a presentation around, let alone a couple papers. So, it had to be supplemented by something. Due to the fact we had been talking about housing also most exclusively in class, I decided to factor that in to my final project. I also considered adding in stuff about the shops in town.
With the shops in town there were really only four changes that occurred. The first was the opening of two CBD oil shops, likely feeding demand from new residence and young people. The second change happened when a chain pizza place in town closed, not much of a loss in the end it was only a Little Caesars. The third change in business in town was the moving of premier arms from main street to a place on the west side of town. Premier arms are a gun shop that was housed in a building that was once residential. The new more professional location may draw in more buyers or could lower sales due to people not knowing where the new location is.
After that I moved on to what would end up being the primary focus of the project after I realized that I needed to focus down my project into something more quantifiable and applicable to what the class was primarily about, that being the towns housing market. I first began with gathering information, I achieved this using two websites, these being Zillow and Redfin. Zillow gave me a good map of what houses were for sale and where. Redfin however gave me a greater ability to collect actual data over time. This data went from both prior to the pandemic and during it to boot!
Now was the matter of deciding on how exactly I was going to divide my paper. I began with the idea to just focus on the buying and selling of homes in Brownsburg, but that was too little to work with. Then I began to add other things that I saw on Redfin. Statistics like sales rates, vacancy rates, and general price rates were added into the paper. That was still shy of the goal so I moved on to another element of this topic that I somehow failed to expand upon to that moment, this was the building of new houses in Brownsburg.
I began the apply what I had gather on Redfin, Zillow, and my own field research to my project. In my autoethnographic blog post I focused more on the statistics over anything else. I felt this was a wise decision due to my in-situ research being mostly me trolling through home prices on Zillow and driving around half complete houses to the west of town, on the border between Brownsburg and Avon or in my town the land of endless strip malls.
What I had found online wasn’t surprising to me in the general sense but on the sense of its rates. In general, the town of Brownsburg is hot like an iron left out in the sun in July! House prices are consistently rising despite the pandemic, the vacancy rate has actually dropped during the pandemic and the number of homes sold while not being as high as it was during 2019 was still very high!
It also explains the flyers that I occasionally get in the mail, flyers adverting real-estate agencies. Specifically, these targeted me and gave some semi-tempting offers for it. My family paid them no mind; we had no interest in moving. As well my grandmother was a real-estate agent back in the 50’s, giving my father a window into that world! From what my father learned from his mother; we knew that we were being lowballed. I hadn’t fully made the connection till one of the presenters in class mentioned something similar happening in the inner city of Indianapolis. Where agencies intentionally lowballed vulnerable people so that they could get the land cheap and sell it for a massive profit. I didn’t factor this into my presentation nor my blog post due to this epiphany not fully striking me yet.