Parks’ comfort level too high?


On Oct. 11 there was an open forum presented on behalf of the Northwest Neighborhood Watch at 12th Avenue and Nadina upon a little patch of grass with a couple of benches that might be a bus stop or it might be a park.

No one in attendance truly knew what to call it. I myself call it Ground Zero, or the Graveyard as at night the number of lost souls seen wandering around without reason at that location reminds me of scenes from movies full of the Undead.

The meet and greet was an excellent idea, as those in attendance were able to exchange information and debate various strategies for improving the health of the parks and how to reduce crime in the area.

As the sun began to set, one could see the different patrons of the area at night arriving and puzzled by the appearance of us, the Day People in their fun zone. Most avoided us except one foolhardy individual who appeared to be under the influence of something other than life.

He eventually pulled out a rather long knife blade minus handle and told us how it was his best surviving thing he owned, and he proceeded to hack away on the bench facing west.

The host of the gathering mentioned that it would be wise for us to depart now for our safety. So we did, the five or so of us that remained, plus the activity of the intersection was quite busy with many people standing around looking concerned that average citizens of town would invade their little happy place.

The person next to me decided to call the police and report the individual with the long knife blade hacking away on the bench as we dispersed. I was curious as to what may happen next.

The homeowners in attendance believe that the police ignore this intersection and that it is a hopeless condition that will never change.

So I drove around the block, took a scenic route back to 12th and Nandina and realized I was just behind two patrol cars that did indeed stop at this little park, make contact with the individual and searched him, and after an exchange of words the individual left the area. At the same time there were three or four other individuals who looked a tad lost who also vacated the area.

It is actions such as this that will allow the reclamation of the parks and other high traffic areas with criminal activity. If the residents of any given area were to start reporting incidents of vandalism, drug activity, or anything suspicious and the police arrive on scene, the negative elements will vacate the area.

I did not check back 30 minutes later to check on the state of park, but I am confident that if the good-natured citizens of the area were to make a presence in these parks, day or night, during legal visiting hours, the crime rates should drop.

It is a mystery to me why there are no hours of use posted at this magnet for trouble.

Either fence it off and close it down, or start making it less desirable to negative elements.

With winter upon us, simply roto-tilling the grounds and tearing up the hard-pack should be enough to discourage many nuisance issues as the trouble makers would be up to their ankles or deeper in mud.

Make the location an uncomfortable one and things will change.

Aaron Pye

Sweet Home