Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, October 18, 2007

 

 

1.         Agenda Item 1. Roll Call for Officers.  The meeting was called to order at 8pm by BDCA President Jerry Anzulovic.  Also present were officers and board members Kevin Young, Liesl Koch, Harry Pitt, and Jack Perry.  Attendees introduced themselves.

 

2.         Agenda Item 2.  Minutes from Last Meeting.  The minutes from the September 2007 meeting had not been posted on the Web yet, so any motion to accept them into the permanent record was reserved until the November meeting.

3.         Agenda Item 3.  Treasurer’s Report.  Lori Young was unable to attend, so no Treasurer’s Report was made.  However, Jerry Anzulovic indicated that the BDCA was “flush” with money.

 

4.         Agenda Item 4.  Discussion on Halloween Safety.  Several participants recounted their experience last year with unruly, “nearly adult” trick-or-treaters.  Possibly the same group of boys/young men visited several houses and exhibited intimidating and poor behavior.  The incidents last year took place in the southern part of the neighborhood, on either end of the pathway between Old Berwyn and Lakeland.  Fifteen or twenty were traveling together, many not even in costume.  Attempts to parcel out candy were thwarted by the trick-or-treaters, or grabbed what they wanted.
      One member of the community got the impression that some in the large group of trick-or-treaters were “casing out” his garage while others were grabbing candy out of the candy bowl.  Another had eggs thrown at her house.
      Someone suggested that this year we try to head it off at the south end of Potomac Avenue.  Another suggested that we talk about it with the Lakeland Civic Association, but someone said they believed the bad behavior came from the Section 8 portion of Lakeland, which the Lakeland Civic Association has had little success in involving in their organization.
      Someone suggested that we organize a few patrols in groups of 3 or 4 who will walk around the neighborhood that night and keep their eyes out in case there’s any trouble.  A downside to this proposal was that some would-be volunteers would be reluctant to leave their own homes that night, in case there were trouble there.
      Bob Ryan, the City Manager, said that Major Davis will perhaps provide some District 1 police to stay in Old Berwyn this year, and at least one contract officer – until midnight.  The City can provide vests and walkie-talkies if we think they would be helpful in organizating a patrol of some kind, if we decided to do that.
      Old Berwyn was the only neighborhood in College Park that had this kind of trouble last year, as far as anyone’s aware.
      The idea of having unofficial hours of 6:00–9:00 pm was discussed and was generally accepted as a good idea.  The idea of possibly posting signs indicating these hours was discussed.
      Jerry Anzulovic said he would get together with Gina and Nicole and will come up with a plan and post instructions on MyBerwyn.org.
      Someone expressed concern for the safety of people on patrol.  Bob Ryan stressed the importance of not confronting suspicious-looking people directly.
      It was suggested that visibility might perhaps be the best deterrent – that perhaps standing on your front porch might be the best signal to any potential troublemakers that they’re expected to behave themselves.

 

5.         Agenda Item 5.  Major Kevin Davis.  Major Kevin Davis joined the BDCA to discuss plans for Halloween and crime in general in the neighborhood.
     Major Davis reported that the policy had interviewed the mother of the owner of a car that had been seen in the neighborhood and whose occupants appeared suspicious.  A watchful Neighborhood Watcher had noted down the license plate of the vehicle.  After interviewing the mother, the police determined that the owner of the car was unlikely to have been involved in a recent strong-arm robbery in the neighborhood.
     Major Davis distributed a handout, which included crime statistics for 2006 and 2007.  Crime in most categories appears to be down compared to last year.
     Major Davis doesn’t think that most of the people who commit the robberies in the area actually live here.  He believes that off-campus housing attracts some of the criminals, who come to the parties held at some of the houses, and that they otherwise wouldn’t even know the neighborhood existed.
     We have four aviation police officers now, which has contributed to the reduction in crime.
     The current County administration has pumped a lot of money into its Policy Academy.  The County says it still needs 700 more officers.  It’s important however to not sacrifice quality for quantity.  The County’s is a “young” police department, with lots of officers in the 24–26 age range currently.  To some extent, more police is more efficient, as you can translate into salaries the County is currently paying in overtime.
     The pattern of crime here is that it’s been mostly on the weekends.  The bad guys normally “travel in packs.”
     A recent robbery, where the victim was robbed while walking his 18-month-old daughter in her stroller, was discussed.  The fact that he was put on hold for 1–2 minutes by 911 was very disturbing as well.  Major Davis is looking into that.
     Participants were reminded to call the non-emergency number – 301-333-4000 – for any but true emergencies.
     Regarding Halloween, Major Davis assured us that his force, and not the contract olice, will have Berwyn “covered” until midnight or so on Halloween.  Berwyners who are interested in patrolling can meet the police in Holy Redeemer’s parking lot at 5:30 pm to have a “huddle.”

6.         Agenda Item 6.  Other Items.  The circle for the bonfire has been set.  Neighbors can contribute their own wood – just make sure to put it in the circle.  The Oktoberfest Bonfire will be from 5–9 pm.  The time the fire is actually lit will depend on how much wood and debris there is in the ring by that time.
     The ice skating rink is offereing a free program for teens on Halloween.
     The date for the Christmas party has been set.  Volunteers are needed for set-up and clean-up afterwards.
     Elections are November 6th.  We vote at City Hall.  Voting hours are 11am–8pm.  Absentee ballots will be counted the day after the election.  You must have a valid reason to vote by absentee ballot.

 

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 pm.

 

 

Meeting Attendees:

 


Jerry Anzulovic

Stacey Baca

Steve Brayman (City Mayor)

Bob Catlin

Rose Colby ???

Chris Dulnig

Michelle Garnes ???

Maria Huzzer

Eric Just ???

Jack Perry

Harry Pitt

Bob Ryan (City Manager)

Larry Wenzel

Susan Whitney

Carrie ?? (student)

???

________ Edwards ???
________ Roberts ???
Brad and Ruth ________ ???

______ and ______ (engaged couple)


 

 

 

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.