Berwyn District Civic Association (BDCA)

Meeting Minutes

October 19, 2006

8 – 10:00 p.m.

 

1.      Welcome, Introductions, Roll Call - BDCA President Timothy Triplett called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m.  The following officers were present: Jerry Anzulovic, Bob Baca, Chuck Ireton, Necole Lindsay, Janeen Miller, Debbie Mims, Harry Pitt, Gina Tomko, Tim Triplett.

 

2.      Gangs in College Park.  The first half of the BDCA meeting was combined with a citywide neighborhood watch meeting.  Janeen Miller introduced guests from the Prince George’s County Policy Department and City of College Park:

            Major Kevin Davis, Commander District 1

                        Tony Avendorph, Gang Enforcement Task Force

                        Corporal Kevin Carter, District 1 Police Officer

                        Kim Lugo, College Park Neighborhood Watch Coordinator

 

      Major Davis presented the 2006 3rd quarter District 1 statistics demonstrating declines in homicides, citizen and commercial robberies, stolen vehicles, and residential and commercial burglaries compared to the 2005 numbers for the equivalent time period.  In addition, police productivity in District 1 has increased in a number of areas including arrests, recovered firearms, warrant service arrests, and traffic citations.  Captain Davis also reported that Prince George’s county leads the state with a 15% reduction in violent crime in 2006, and attributed the decline in part to the increase of police patrols.  He also noted that police response times in the district are down and that the police presence in College Park has never been higher.  He noted that Kim Lugo will be leading a districtwide neighborhood watch effort.   

 

      Detective Avendorph, an officer with the County’s gang unit, introduced himself and described the activities of the county’s gang task force.  He spoke about the “skip party” that occurred in Berwyn in September and the apparent ties to the Vatos Locos gang.  Detective Avendorph emphasized that there are no signs of serious gang activity in Berwyn and it is not time to panic.  Police were notified about the skip party in Berwyn and responded with several officers.  All teens present were interviewed and released.  There were no signs of illegal activity at the house.  Some individuals present had ties to the Vatos Locos gang, which is the fastest growing gang in the county.  He noted that “skip parties” (where students meet at a house or other location for a party instead of attending school) have been common in the county this fall and they are expected to fade when the weather gets colder. 

 

      There was a discussion about how to handle neighborhood graffiti.  The police would prefer that we leave the graffiti up, and call them to come out and inspect it, so they can determine if its gang related. Then, they would remove it. This process would take about a month. When asked whether Berwyn’s "Graffiti Defeati Brigade" should stop removing graffiti within 48 hours, Detective Avendorph cautioned residents that this could be viewed as a "slap in the face" to the gang if it is indeed gang tagging. He also said that the gangs tend to know when it is the police who have seen and removed the graffiti, and that also sends a message to the gang members that the police are on to them.  However, given the history of the Graffiti Defeati efforts in Berwyn, Detective Avendorph agreed that we can continue to clean up graffiti as long as we first photograph the graffiti with a digital camera and email the image, with the exact location and date, to the police (FAAvendorph@co.pg.md.us; kacarter@co.pg.md.us)

 

      The officers reiterated the importance of reporting suspicious activity, maintaining an active neighborhood watch, and playing an active role in community anti-crime efforts. 

 

-                      Always call non-emergency number and report suspicious persons. 

-                      Be prepared to provide specific information: what is the suspicious person wearing, what is he/she doing to seem suspicious.

-                      Sound confident, be specific about what you want the police to do, and ask to speak with the responding officer (which guarantees a response).

-                      Call schools when school-age juveniles are seen during school hours.  Kim Lugo passed out a flyer with descriptions of the local public school uniforms and school contact information.  Residents are encouraged to contact the police non-emergency number and schools when juveniles are seen during school hours.  Report their location, what they are wearing. This flyer will be posed on the website.

 

Contact Information:
Detective Tony Avendorph, Gang Unit:
301-887-4305
FAAvendorph@co.pg.md.us

Cpl. Kevin Carter, Community Specialist:
kacarter@co.pg.md.us

Major Kevin Davis, District 1 Commander
301-699-2626

      Bob Ryan, (Title…) of College Park noted that code enforcement is strong in College Park, code enforcement has received more police support, and code enforcement officers often have police back-up.

 

3.  Tim Triplett thanked people for coming, adjourned the neighborhood watch portion of the meeting, and announced the beginning of the formal Berwyn District Civic Association meeting.

 

4.  Updates

§      Welcoming Committee.  The Welcoming Committee needs a coordinator.  The coordinator will be responsible for the getting the committee together a few times a year to assemble welcome packages.  The committee welcomes volunteers.

§   Annual Bonfire.  We have received permission to hold our bonfire in the park.  A forester will come out to stake out an appropriate location for the fire. We also need to put greater effort into cleaning up after the bonfire, especially to remove the ashes and throw down grass seed.

§   The Berwyn News Newsletter.  Residents are encouraged to submit something to be printed.  Contents should be submitted to Bob Baca, editor.

§   Agenda for next meeting.  Bob Ryan will discuss code enforcement at the next meeting.  Tim Triplett agreed to contact the Director of Public Works to request that they also come to report on trash pick-up, including changes in special pick-up and inconsistencies in what is picked-up.

§   December holiday party.  The December holiday party will be held in lieu of the BDCA meeting.  The tentative date for the party is December 16.

§   Halloween.  Trick or treating will take place on October 31.  Residents should turn on lights if they are receiving kids and turn them off if they are not.

§   Lights on Berwyn Road.  A brief discussion was held about the recent discussion regarding the brightness of the lights on Berwyn Road and whether a letter should be sent from the BDCA requesting action.   Currently, 100 watt bulbs are in place and we can request these be changed to 70 watt bulbs.  There was no consensus among members present, so no action will be taken.  The BDCA may reconsider the situation in 6 months.

§   Update on pawn shop.  There is no scheduled data for the next Best Pawn hearing.

 

5.  College Park Reports from our Council Representatives

 

§   Crime and public safety:  Jack Perry reported that the city council is meeting regularly with police agencies to address crime and safety in College Park.  He noted concern with the relatively large number of pawn shops in District 1.  Public safety door hangers were distributed with the last edition of the Berwyn News and more are available.

§   Development activity: Bob Caitlin reported that there is a lot of development activity.  The developers for the location of the former Stardust Hotel want to start again on building an upscale hotel. 

§   Elections.  Bob Caitlin noted that there are many residents of College Park running for county and state office and encouraged people to vote.  Because the City doesn’t have a lot of power, having representatives at the county and state level who are familiar with our issues will be beneficial.

§   New neighborhood signs.  Berwyn will be getting new signs to announce the BDCA meetings and other neighborhood events.  The old signs will be contributed to the bonfire.

 

 


Attendees:

Tim Aldridge

Jerry Anzulovic

Bob Baca

Steve Brayman

Bob Caitlin

Andrea Carpentieri

Raquel Christie

Shelby Davis

Vera Davison

Valerie Durrant

Maria Huffer

Robert Hunter

Chuck Ireton

Eric Justh

Nicole Lindsay

Carol Macknis

Zari Malsawma

Janet McCaslin

Merle McLean

Janeen Miller

Dave Milligan

Debbie Mims

Lia Nickerson

Coleman O’Donoghue

Bonnie O’Donoghue

Betty Ohler

Jack Perry

Kim Peterson

Sarah Phelan

Kevin Phelan

Harry Pitt

Rex Powell

Jill Reese

Bob Ryan

Rachel Saladino

Stef Solari

Don Spicer

Gladys Thomas

Gina Tomko

Tim Triplett

Forrest Tyler

Larry Wenzel

Kevin Young

Mary Zouts