Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Neighborhood News--ECCA Meeting Report (Totally Unofficial)

We attended the August meeting of the East Central Civil Association at the Third Baptist Church last night. As usual, much of the discussion focused on crime and the “crime emergency” measures undertaken by the MPD.

Sgt. Penn of the 3rd District gave a report in which he said that crime in the district was down by 3% since the emergency was declared. (He didn’t break it down further than that.) He said 42 arrests have been made (not sure for what, exactly). The police are working 6-day weeks, and 15 additional officers have been allocated to the 3rd district to work the ‘hot zones’, which in Shaw consist of 7th Street between O and Rhode Island Avenue. One of the attendees complained about being hassled by panhandlers and seeing drug activity in the Giant parking lot—which presumably should be in the “hot zone.”

Despite all that, there was a shooting yesterday in the courtyard of the coop housing at 5th and O, and another one on August 3 at 8th and R—neither of them fatal. He said the victims were being “uncooperative”, which probably means that these were related to the on-going beef between the 5th & O and 7th & O crews. One additional interesting tidbit was that the Kennedy Rec Center on 7th Street is considered 7th and O turf, so kids from elsewhere don’t want to go there.

In response to questions about the curfew for kids 16 and under, Sgt. Penn said they were detaining significant numbers who are held until a parent or another responsible adult comes for them. According to Rita Epps (who gave a presentation on family collaborative services), they’re finding that some of the kids really have no one at home.

There was also some discussion about “roving leaders” under the Neighborhood Services department. I had never heard of this program, but it’s supposed to be an outreach effort to get kids from the neighborhoods into the recreational programs. A new person has just been appointed for the Kennedy Rec Center, but apparently there is only one “roving leader” for all of Ward 2.

ANC3c chairman Leroy Thorpe gave an impassioned version of his trademark sermon on the need for parental supervision, education, and personal responsibility. Impressively, he is willing to challenge assertions of protective grandmothers that young men are being hassled by police for no reason whatever. He also included jibes at fellow commissioner Alex Padro for allegedly not doing anything to deal with criminal activity at the Lincoln-Westmoreland and Kelsey Gardens apartments in his single member district.

Thorpe did confirm that there is movement on the O Street Market project, and that talks are taking place between Giant and Roadside.

Comment: The ECCA meetings are fairly sparsely attended—maybe 15-20 people were there in addition to the presenters. About the same people usually show up—mostly long-time residents, but a smattering of relative newcomers. I doubt many new residents even know the organization exists; there is no website (something I’m going to try to work with president Betty Newell to address) and the flyers about the meetings are distributed rather haphazardly. Nevertheless, it’s one good way to find out what’s going on in the neighborhood and meet people you might not otherwise have occasion to talk to.


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