Hartford Neighborhoods Demand Action On Crime, Other Problems
June 10, 2008
Frustrated that police don't consistently respond to their calls about nightclub patrons making noise and parking illegally on their residential streets, residents of Hartford's North End neighborhoods demanded Monday that city officials become attentive.
Members of North Hartford Citizens in Action said they are tired of attending meetings with police that don't result in change. They said they've raised concerns about weekend traffic jams and crimes such as drug dealing, drunken driving, excessive noise and vandalism since 2007.
Fifty homeowners and residents who represent neighborhoods from Cleveland Avenue to Addison Street addressed their concerns in a room without air-conditioning at the Willie Ware Community Center with Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez Jr. and Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts.
Perez said he had met with the leaders of the group a month ago, and he is prepared to implement a pilot residential parking plan. He said that residents on certain streets along Main Street and Tower Avenue would be given residential parking permits. All other vehicles parked in those areas during certain hours would be subjected to tows and ticketing.
"This problem exists throughout the city. In your neighborhood, it is more chronic," Perez said.
The Hartford Police Department studies crime trends and addresses them. "We've changed the way we do business," Roberts said.
"We came together last year. Nothing we've noticed has changed," said the meeting's moderator, Kimberly Taylor, referring to a similar meeting with police last year.
When residents complain about noise, she said, they are told that the police department is understaffed. "We should get some type of response," she insisted.
Roberts said that if "you can hear [noise] from two buildings away, we can do something."
"I can hear it in front of my house," a frustrated Taylor said of blaring car radios and other noise in the street.
Gwen Morgan said that everyone in the neighborhood knows who the drug dealers are and where they are selling drugs, but the police aren't doing anything about it.
"You sit behind a desk," Morgan told Roberts. "But what happens on the streets is another issue."
Former city Councilman Steve Harris said his nephew and cousin were killed in the city, and their killings have not been solved. "If you don't enforce the little laws, we graduate to the bigger laws. We've gotten away from enforcing quality of life."
Sharon Lewis said she is happy to know that the mayor is negotiating with the state police for help this summer. But for her, that is not enough.
"We don't want that temporary fix with the state police. There needs to be a permanent police presence," Lewis said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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