Monday, November 17, 2014

Arbor District Letter

The Arbor District plans on presenting presenting the letter below at tomorrow night's city council meeting regarding the uptick in unsolved crimes in the Arbor District area. A number of residents have signed the letter already and members of the Arbor District board are seeking more. Among the concerns are the recent shooting incidents on West Cherry, the rolled car during Unofficial Halloween and, according to a post on Facebook, vandalism this weekend at the First Christian Church.

Dear Mayor Monty and Mr. Baity,

We write as residents of the Arbor District concerned about the recent upsurge of dangerous and
criminal activity that has occurred particularly on and around West Cherry Street, between Ash
and Forest Avenues in the past two months. Two separate shootings last week, along with the
overturned car incident in October, a Rottweiler that has attacked walkers, cars driving at
dangerously high speeds, and a noticeable upswing in large house parties have created a sense of
lawlessness in this neighborhood.

While we have been told that policing in the neighborhood has been stepped up, we don’t see it.
A resident reports being openly dismissed by police when complaints have been called in; and
police responses to those complaints have become perfunctory and yield no results. The
explanation frequently given by city officials that ticketing nuisance offenses doesn’t work
because the recipients simply ignore them seems to say more about the impotence of city
enforcement than it does about the intractability of the problem.

In the recent past, complaints about obnoxious parties would be responded to with officers
entering the house and assessing the situation. We gather that this is no longer standard
procedure. While the violence that we are witnessing may not have a direct relationship to
nuisance issues such as large and loud parties, trash in yards and on the street, underage
drinking, and off-leash dogs, it is all creating an environment of intimidation and chaos. Please be
clear that what we are describing is not a matter of “college kids having a good time.”

Aggression, disrespect, and a sense of impunity are the overriding characteristics.
Right now, a lot of folks – students, children, and long-time residents alike – feel increasingly
unsafe in their own neighborhood. We urge more regular police patrols of this street and the
Arbor District as a whole, and a more serious response to nuisance complaints. In the long-term
we implore the City to enact and enforce policies that meaningfully hold individuals (and where
applicable, landlords) responsible for criminal and nuisance behaviors that occur on their

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