4. Agenda Item 4. Special Guests. Major Ralph Brewer, Officer J.J. Black, Lieutenant Duelley, and Captain Alexander, all of the P.G. County Police Department, spoke about current crime stats in our area. The amount of crime in 2011 was slightly higher in the County than in 2010. There had been a spike in homocides at the beginning of 2011. So far this year there has been a 3 percent reduction in violent and crime and a 14 percent reduction in crime overall, including breaking and entering. Spring break is coming up and the police are alert to the fact that burglaries of student residences tend to spike during the break. That said, we avoided the normal spike in burglaries over winter break, so things are trending in the right direction. Theft from automobiles is still a problem. The police recommend that you don’t leave anything in plain view in your automobile. The P.G. police work closely with the Metro Transit police to help solve crimes at Metro stations in the County. Metro is a relevantly safe system. It is good about informing P.G. County police about incidents on the Metro. Metro had done some decoy operations in other stations that they haven’t felt the need to do at the College Park station, which is pretty safe. Burglary crime in the district is down 40 percent, partly as a result of some arrests made in the past year or so. (There had been a small group of about 7 people who were responsible for 99 percent of the burglaries in the College Park area.) As of today, all 7 are still incarcerated, and the police are working with the community prosecutor to try to keep them locked up. Many of the electronic gadgets targeted by thieves are sold right on the street rather than taken to pawn shops. Officer Black and Dan Blasberg discussed the weekly Coffee Club, now in its second year, where residents meet with police representatives at Jason’s Deli. The Club was originally run by the COPS officers, but beginning last year the have wanted to be more hands-off and let the citizens run it. Dan Blasberg is running the meetings now.
The meetings used to last about 2 hours but now typically last about 45 minutes. They’ve been meeting every Wednesday, but come June will meet twice a month. In the The Lieutenant and Captain are usually there, and the major is sometimes
too. There used to be what they called a Tea Time, held in the evenings, which was essentially the same thing. That was in New Carrollton. Officer Black was instrumental in getting the Coffee Club started. The Club allows residents to hold the police’s feet to the fire. Crime stats will now be placed in the body of the e-mail that’s distributed to the Neighborhood Watch listserv, rather than sent as an attachment.
The City is preparing to put together a budget. Its revenues are a little flat at the moment. A meeting about economic development along Route 1 brought almost 100 people.
The City is expecting more details this summer about the plans for the former Koons Ford property. The hotel planned for the property next to the Exxon station is scheduled to begin construction this fall. The City has a grant it can use to tear down some buildings; it might use it to tear down the building next to Taco Bell. The City also has a grant to do some sidewalk work, and one area they’re looking at for that is Berwyn Road (the money has to be spent on the west side of Rhode Island Avenue). Starting this summer, WSSC will begin pipe repair and replacement work, from Ruatan down to Branchville. After that, they’ll work south of Ruatan.
Councilman Monroe Dennis reported that the University of Maryland and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission have planned a “good neighbor” day, which will entail clean-up and graffiti-removal activities. The two places they’ve targeted is the underpass by the fire house and the underpass from Lakeland to Lake Artemesia. The project is under the leadership of Gloria Blackwell, who will try to enlist students as well as members of the community.
Mayor Fellows reported that the University is still in discussions with the Cordish developers. They will probably be asking for public input sometime in the spring. The City Council opposed the Cafritz development, but the Board approved it.
Same thing with the Maryland Book Exchange development proposal. The 20/20 Vision partnership between the City and the University is making suggestions for how to get people to use a county bus on Route 1.
The Purple Line is moving at a glacial pace but is still moving. It has now all been permitted; it’s the funding that is slow.
The City, as mentioned, was opposed to the proposed development of the Maryland Book Exchange site, but it is hoping that at some point there will be opportunity to create more graduate housing where the Knox Boxes currently are.
The Mayor said that the Coffee Club has been a great idea, and that crime seems to be down.
The Mayor, Councilman Dennis, President Young and others attended a reception in Annapolis for the 21st delegation. The reception is open to the public. The delegation had chartered a bus that left from IKEA. The same arrangements will probably be made next year as well.
In response to a question from the audience, the Mayor said that the City would consider donating some amount toward the cost of Berwyn Day, as it has done in the past, but that that would be part of the budget process.
There was discussion about the possibility of installing crosswalk safety measures at the intersection of the Trolley Trail and Greenbelt Road. Eighty percent of the people who cross Paint Branch Parkway on the trail also cross Greenbelt Road. There are currently no definite plans to do anything, but we’ve been talking with the State Highway people about it.
8. Agenda Item 8. President’s Report. President Young thanks the staff and owner of the Fishnet for allowing us to hold this month’s meeting there.
President Young and Dan Blasberg and Harry Pitt did an inspection around the former Washington Post property on the 5th of this month. It was in very good shape compared to years past.
Three people have volunteered to help deliver the newspaper. President Young expressed his gratitude to them. He also thanked the individuals who have started to organize Berwyn Day.
President Young reminded the audience that there would be another election for officers before too long. He encouraged people to run for office, to serve on the Board or help out any way they can.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20pm.
Meeting Attendees (from sign-up sheet):
|Captain Alexander||Monroe Dennis||Forrest Tyler|
|Gail Anzulovic||Lieutenant Duelley||Sandy Tyler|
|Jerry Anzulovic||Mayor Andrew Fellows||B. Valentich|
|Dan Blasberg||Lily Fountain||Richard Valentich|
|Major Brewer||Doug Hunter||Richard Watson|
|Bob Catlin||Larry Knox||Keyia Yalcini|
|Rose Colby||Liesl Koch|
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA