Special Police Detail Organized to Fight Burglaries
Police met with residents Thursday.
Concerned neighbors came to a Public Service Area (PSA) 3 meeting at Allens Lane Art Center Friday to hear direclty from police about an increase in burglaries throughout West Mt. Airy and elsewhere.
Police said they often have a hard time tying specific people to burglaries. Out of 73 recent burglaries, 14th Police District Capt. Joel Dales said, only three have been officially resolved. (That may have changed, though, with news of an arrest near West Durham Street Thursday.)
New criminals, however, aren't in short supply, according to Dales.
"New faces are popping up," he said. "It's incredible."
Dales asked people at the meeting to raise their hands if they had been a victim of some sort of robbery or theft. About 40 percent of the hands at the meeting—which was attended by about 30 people—went up.
The gathering, which was held outside the art center because it was locked, attracted people from various areas around the neighborhood. Some were from the Carpenter's Woods Town Watch, while others lived on East Gorgas Lane near Germantown Avenue—an area where residents have been organizing after a spate of burglaries in that area recently.
Dales told the residents he's putting together a special detail to deal with the problem. Some plainclothes officers will be involved.
Carpenter's Woods Town Watch President Heather Pierce encouraged people to turn porch lights on at night.
"You'd be surprised at nighttime if you see how many of those houses are dark," she said.
People also talked about kids smoking marijuana at Mt. Airy Playground.
In order to stop that from happening, police encouraged people to meet with the group. A similar meeting took place with youths who were spending time on a street corner at Ellet Street and Greene Street.
During that meeting, Pierce said, children complained that the neighborhood wasn't "showing them love." After some talking, she said, the problem went away.
Dales encouraged the group to use a similar approach.
"When we started showing them love, they don't hang out on the corners any more," he said. "Show them love!"