Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1. Agenda Item 1. Welcome. President Kevin Young called the meeting to order and announced that we would deviate from the standard order of business in order to address recent crime in the neighborhood. Special guests were introduced. Special guests included Assistant Commander Captain David Lloyd, Bud Duelley, Jeb Walters (District 1 cop lieutenant), Jeron Black (COPS officer), and Bob Ryan (Director of Public Services, City of College Park).

2. Agenda Item 2. Crime. Assistant Commander Captain Lloyd reported on recent criminal activity in the neighborhood. The police were at a BDCA meeting in September, discussing the same problem, the same suspects. They suspect 4 or 5 men to be responsible for many of the recent break‐ins.

The suspects are local, some in the vicinity of Berwyn. They have chosen this area to target because they know the area well. They’ve been locked up before but let out by the criminal justice system, which is frustrating for the police.
Photos and surveillance cameras are extremely helpful in catching perpetrators. The police interviewed two individuals whose behavior had aroused suspicion and whose photos had been provided to the police. The police interviewed those two individuals and don’t believe they are tied to the recent crimes.
There are usually fewer break‐ins around Thanksgiving time but this year we got hit hard. Break‐ins at student houses are often not reported immediately if they happen during the holidays because students are out of town and don’t discover the crime until they return.
One of the worrisome crimes was a physical assault that took place when the victim came home while the crime was taking place and surprised the perpetrator.
Break‐ins for the most part have been taking place at night.
A resident asked what we could do to make a difference in the criminal justice system, so
judges would not release repeat offenders. Assistant Commander Captain Lloyd recommended
showing up at trials to send the message that people in the neighborhood that was victimized care and are following the case closely. Judges notice that.
If you see something suspicious looking, call the police. You can call 911. The dispatcher will send the closest officer, whether that’s the City contract police or someone else.
The person(s) responsible for recent break‐ins seems to like it easy – if you leave doors or windows unlocked, he loves going in that way. He might kick in a back door. Entry is usually through the back of the house. You might be tempting the bad guys if you have a large TV that can be seen from outside when it’s on at night. Make sure your valuables inside your house aren’t visible from outside the house. Do not leave valuables in your car where people can see them.
Janine Miller provided Councilman Brennan with information that we can distribute to students in student housing about preventing burglaries.
Residents can borrow engravers from the police to engrave ID numbers on their property. Simple vandalism – such as smashing side windows of automobiles – is not atypical. Property
crimes in general have been a problem in our neighborhood and Lakeland. A lot of times they’re committed by juveniles or career criminals.
There was discussion about what a resident could expect as follow‐up once they reported a crime. The best thing you can do is advocate for yourself. If you call the police department and don’t get your question answered, or your calls returned, call the next person up the chain of command. Detective Duelley said that one of the things he expects his officers to do is stay in contact with the victims. If there’s an arrest, someone will be in touch with you so you can show up
in court, where you may have an opportunity to speak as a victim. If you’re not getting calls returned from an investigator, call him (Detective Duelley) directly, at 301‐699‐2601, or e‐mail him at cwduelley@co.pg.md.us. It may be that the detectives have no lead and the case is cold, in which case they can’t devote all their time to that case while others are pending. A resident complained about getting the line “We’ve got worse crimes to worry about, like murders and rapes” from police. Corporal Davis said that attitude from the police is not acceptable.

3. Agenda Item 3. Neighborhood Watch. Bob Ryan, Director of Public Services for the City of College

Park, said the City employs an officer whose role is to support Neighborhood Watch programs.
Very few people have been attending the classes he’s offered. He could come to a BDCA meeting if
we’d like.

4. Agenda Item 4. Minutes from the Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the

November 21, 2013, meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

5. Agenda Item 5. Treasurer’s Report. Since there was no BDCA meeting in December 2013, the previous balance as noted on the financial report goes back to the November meeting.

Since then, we’ve received $360.00 in memberships and donations. We’ve had expenses of
$455.54 for Minuteman Press (for 3 newsletters) and $289.16 in expenses for the holiday party and
the reception held at November’s meeting for Bob Catlin. The current balance, which matches the bank statement dated 1/16/14, is $4,288.99.
A motion to accept the financial report was made, seconded, and passed.

6. Agenda Item 6. Residential Parking Zones and other Traffic or Vehicle‐Related Issues. Bob Ryan explained the process necessary to establish a residential parking zone. Other neighborhoods in the City have done this, including Lakeland. The petition and forms are available on the City’s website. Tecumseh Street has some unique features, in that part of it (the part by Route 1) is not residential. Two‐thirds of property owners living on a particular block have to petition for permit

parking before the City will consider approving it (the City has the authority to create parking zones regardless of whether residents petition for one, but it usually waits for residents to petition for one). Parking zones require a minimum of one city block or equivalent. Permits cost $10 per car, per household. In some neighborhoods, daily visitor passes are purchased. Elsewhere, each household is entitled to 2 visitor passes, which cost $1 a year. If you have permit parking and want to hold a special event, such as a party, where you need a number of parking spaces, you can call the City and let them know in advance so they won’t ticket cars on the street during the event. Any limits you establish – say, two permits per household – apply to everyone in the restricted parking zone, so it might be better to ask for more permits than just two. Zoning regulations stipulate how much parking a new building is required to have. Permit parking may become inevitable City‐wide because of the amount of development taking place along Route 1. We need to be concerned about emergency vehicle access, and access for trash pick‐up and leaf pick‐up. If you ask for restricted parking just one street at a time, you might just send the problems of that street to another street – it might be better to ask for it community‐wide rather than for just one street here and there. That’s what happened in Lakeland, which now has restricted parking throughout.
Special exceptions can be made for churches, etc. The petition does not need to include exceptions the neighborhood is going to want (such as for church parking), as those can be made later.
City Hall sells out‐of‐state vehicle permits. If you move to the area, you have 60 days to get a permanent tag. If your move isn’t permanent, you need to get the Maryland temporary permit for your vehicle.
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There is some interest in erecting a no left turn sign at the intersection of Tecumseh with
Baltimore Avenue. This would be a decision the State Highway Administration would have to make.
There are plans to put a median strip on Greenbelt Road near the 7‐Eleven store.

7. Agenda Item 7. Councilmen Reports. Councilman PJ Brennan touched on a variety of subjects. He encouraged those who were not yet members to sign up for NextDoor, where one can read special notices about crime activity in the neighborhood, Pepco services, scam warnings, tips about apps to add to your smart phone, etc. He thanked those who donated goods for the animal shelter; donations are still welcome. He thanked Chris Dulnig for serving on the College Park Airport Authority Committee. He thanked those who attended the College Park Foundation event, which took place shortly before Christmas, and made a special thanks to Chuck Ireton for his donation of glass art, Ferhat Yalcin for Fishnet’s donation of food, and Richard Morris for organizing it. He will send out phone numbers of whom to call to help people in cold weather. He announced an upcoming free event at the Clarice Smith Arts Center honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

Councilman Brennan announced that the City had just received a grant to purchase security cameras. They cost $15,000 each and can be monitored remotely. The Civic Association can express its interest in having one installed along the Trolley Trail in a letter to the City.
Kevin Carter, the Neighborhood Watch Coordinator, was introduced. The Neighborhood Watch listserv, which was monitored at one point, is no longer used, as all the neighborhood Internet traffic has moved over to NextDoor. One advantage of having a moderator is to quell rumors. Councilman Brennan thinks that for the moment, when there seems to be an uptick of crime in the neighborhood, we should create a flyer that lists recent crime and provides information about what one can do to prevent future similar crimes.
A few neighbors have mentioned that the street or path lighting is too intrusive in their windows. The older style lighting is not in compliance with the Dark Sky Initiative. The City’s engineer will look at some possible solutions and present them to Councilman Brennan.
There are plans to develop the property next to the Koon’s Ford property, which itself is to be developed into a hotel. The area behind it will be residential. There will be a detailed site plan, and the developer’s proposal will circulate to surrounding communities. It will ultimately have to go to the County for approval.
The public hearing about the charter amendment to lower the minimum age requirement to serve on the City Council from 21 to 18 will take place Tuesday, February 11th, at 7pm in City Hall. A similar amendment was put to a vote in 2010 but failed to pass. The intention is to foster collaboration between students and residents. If you have an opinion about this proposed amendment, feel free to contact Councilman Brennan and share your thoughts with him.
Councilman Monroe Dennis encouraged people to attend the Martin Luther King Jr. event at the Clarice Smith Arts Center. He had nothing additional to add to Councilman Brennan’s report.

8. Agenda Item 8. New Business. There was no new business.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50pm.

Meeting attendees (from sign‐up sheet):

Cpl. Jaron Black Dan Blasberg Nick Brennan
PJ Brennan Heidi Cantila Nordie Cantila
Robert Catlin Cpl. Davis Monroe Dennis
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Christy Dollymore Lt. C. Duelley Michele Garnes Harvey Himmelfarb Marge Himmelfarb James Kiernan
Liesl Koch
Elizabeth Kuligowski
Captain David Lloyd
Thomas McGonigle
Richard Morrison
Harry Pitt
Maia Sheppard Lt. J. Walters Larry Wenzel Kevin Young
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.
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