Nothing of Value Inside to Steal

“Nothing of Value Inside to Steal” signs are familiar to anyone living in a neighborhood undergoing gentrification; the more you see, the more advanced it’s becoming. The signs are also ignorant and judgemental on a number of levels. For starters, it’s prime settler-colonialism boilerplate. Move into a low-income nonwhite neighborhood, accuse existing residents of being criminals without the sense to know something of value when they see it and then pat yourself on the back for helping to “civilize” the neighborhood.

No one is indiscriminately smashing car windows and aimlessly rummaging around just in case there might be something of use. People break into vehicles because they see something of value inside, value from resale, personal use or any other reason. The car in this photo was one of the cleanest I’ve seen with one of those signs in the window, but there was still a USB charging cable visible near the console. I’ve seen blankets, pillows, paper-towel rolls, clothing and more inside cars with those signs in the window. All basic necessities that would tempt anyone desperate and in need.

When parking overnight on the street, or even a few hours in a mall parking lot, leaving nothing at all in sight is the best idea. That takes effort, though, and gentrifiers aren’t about to expend any energy adapting to their environment, especially not when that environment is currently being terraformed to accommodate them. They’d much rather tape passive-aggressive signs to their car windows demonizing existing residents. You’re Not Welcome Here signs from new residents, targeting existing ones, because who said white supremacy ever needed logic to thrive?

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