Be involved and care about your neighbors. That’s the advice 2nd District Police Capt. Michael McCarrick gave to Lawncrest residents who are looking to protect their neighborhood.
McCarrick was the main guest at last night’s Lawncrest Community Association, which garnered more than 50 attendees and political assistants.
“We need more people from the community [at these meetings],” McCarrick said. The captain went on to say the “sense of community has been pillaged and torn apart” – a reality that he thinks can be attributed to absentee landlords who are typically less interested in community involvement.
The praise for the Community Association from McCarrick and Community Relations Officer Mark Mroz sparked even more questions from board members and residents, whose concerns varied from violent crime to parking issues.
“I’m concerned about murders,” one resident said. “It’s the first time in my life I’ve lived around this violence.”
Things to be thankful for
With little more than a week before Thanksgiving, Lawncrest residents had much to celebrate at last night’s meeting.
Continuing the tradition of the monthly 50/50 raffle, one luck winner received $50, which was then given as a donation.
-In addition to the usual raffle, eight turkeys were also given away, after every person in attendance was given a free ticket for a chance to win. At least two of the turkeys were donated to an organization in need.
-Bob Dellavella, Democratic Leader of the 55th Ward, donated in a partnership with Bill Dolbow, Community Association president and Democratic Leader of the 35th Ward, $250 for the holiday party for underprivileged children, hosted by the 2nd and 15th Districts.
-Lawncrest Community Association donated an addition $100 to the cause, with another $100 from resident and businessman Phil Cunningham.
-Councilwoman Marian B. Tasco’s office presented a check for $2,500 to the Fourth of July Committee.
In total, $3,000 and eight Thanksgiving turkeys were awarded to individuals, organizations and causes.
Another resident, whose concern was mostly with parking, agreed that the violence is becoming too much. Living in Lawncrest since 1964, the man has been attacked and robbed twice in the last three years, and told McCarrick he has been victimized because parking near his home at Godfrey Avenue and Colgate Street is difficult because of a nearby bar. Being forced to park blocks away, he said, makes him vulnerable.
McCarrick tried to reassure the crowd, announcing that a dozen officers have been redeployed to the 2nd District in the last two months, and said the district “should be receiving a substantial increase in officers this week.”
But, he told residents, even if there were 1,000 cops in the district, there is no way to completely stop the problems.
Parking was a focal point for many in attendance, whose complaints centered around double-parking, illegal truck parking, school zone violations and cars blocking handicap ramps and corners.
McCarrick suggested residents treat their parking concerns in the same manner they make complaints about rowdy bars: if you see a problem on your street, call 911, and do so every 15 minutes until you get a response. Make as many complaints as you can, and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
Many residents gave specific intersections and addresses connected with parking violations, which McCarrick and Mroz – along with two foot patrol officers who stopped by the meeting – promised to handle the complaints. Mroz said he’s written about 150 tickets over the last two months to tractor trailer drivers who block intersections.
“It’s pretty good if all we’re complaining about is parking,” Community Association Bill Dolbow said, and requested a zero tolerance policy for truck parking. McCarrick agreed that the residents’ willingness to come to monthly meetings “keeps the community afloat.”
“If we’re not working hand in hand, we’re done, we’ve lost the war,” McCarrick said. “And it’s not a war we want to lose.”
Also at last night’s meeting…Businesses and individuals are encouraged to donate to the holiday event for underprivileged children hosted by the 2nd and 15th Districts. Held annually, the event provides music, games, food and a visit from Santa for more than 100 needy kids in the area. Tax deductible donations can be made payable to Mark Mroz #9867, c/o 2nd Police District, 2831 Levick St., 19149…Preliminary plans are still underway for a proposal to turn the old Oxford Hospital into housing…Instead of its usual holiday dinner, the 2nd District PDAC this year will serve pizza and hoagies to to all officers of the district at the start of each shift in an effort to express appreciation for every officer and detective…The theme for this year’s Lawncrest Fourth of July celebration will involve veterans. Plans for the celebration are expected to move forward, as the committee has more money now than it did this time last year…Mitchell Robinson, an eight-year resident, has launched Lawncrest Youth Association. Already into its basketball season and planning for the baseball season, the organization – based at the rec center – hopes to provide neighborhood children with athletic, educational and mentoring opportunities…Pastor Ben of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church will host a clean-up day Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. on Newton Avenue between Adams and Godfrey avenues to clean up and beautify the street…Lawncrest Community Association will next meet Dec. 15 for its annual holiday party.