Lawncrest talks crime and snow

The snow, it turns out, has its benefits. Lawncrest residents were pleased to find out that crime in the area is down 27 percent from last year, and 47 percent in just the last week. Lt. Tom Tomlinson of the 2nd Police District attributes that last figure to the several feet of snow on the ground.

Approximately 50 people attended last night’s meeting of the Lawncrest Community Association — about half the usual attendance. President Bill Dolbow attributed that to the snow, as well, and thanked those who braved the roads to be at the meeting.

The focus of the meeting was crime, snow and the relationship between the two. Mark Mroz, community relations officer for the 2nd District, was the highlighted speaker, though he brought along Tomlinson, the lieutenant for Police Service Area 2, and a sergeant from that zone as well.

Mroz explained the PSA boundaries for the district — specifically zone 2, where Lawncrest sits — and fielded questions from residents who said they’re looking for ways to make their neighborhood safer.

Town Watch President Ken Hyers asked the officers what the most common crime in the area is, and Tomlinson answered without hesitation: car break-ins.

The neighborhood’s not like it was 20 years ago,” Tomlinson said, citing 61 auto break-ins in the district just last month. Mroz advised Lawncrest residents to always lock their car doors, and remove GPS units from unattended cars.

When board member Phil Grutzmacher addressed the recent issue of bar incidents in the neighborhood, those at the meeting began connecting crime to the quality of life issues.

Mroz agreed that certain bars in the area have been known to cause problems, but said the police “have to pick and choose our battles,” and can’t arrest everyone coming out of a packed bar. And though he pointed out one bar owner at the meeting, said he hopes to see more in the future.

Trash Talk

Denise McVey from Recycle Bank stopped by the Lawncrest Community Association to talk about the Philly Recycle Rewards Program.

Residents all over the city can sign up to earn recycling points that will get them discounts at their favorite stores.

You can sign up and check your points balance by phone or e-mail, and the entire program is free.

Once you’re signed up, you’ll received a sticker to place on your primary recycle bin (though you can use multiple bins).

On recycle day, the truck will read your sticker and weigh the amount of recycled material.

Participants will received points based on a community weight scale — the more people with Recycle Bank stickers, the more points to be distributed.

You get to decide where to use the points you’ve earned — 2 points/1lb. of recycled material, and 1 point/1lb. of reduced waste.

Lawncrest — and most of the Northeast, with the exception of Frankf0rd — will start the program in June.

But what residents are most concerned about at the moment is snow: where to put it, how to park in it and who’s responsible for the inevitable consequences.

Neighbors shook their heads when the sergeant told them: “75 percent of calls in the last couple weeks were from people stuck in the snow.” And though the police were sympathetic, and tried to do their best, the sergeant admitted officers couldn’t do much, as they were getting stuck, too.

Mroz is taking an active role in pursuing residents’ concerns. He told the crowd he wrote a $75 ticket to a homeowner who hadn’t shoveled, and warned people he’ll “throw your chair out and write you a ticket” for saving parking spots.

As always at the Lawncrest Community Association meeting, residents appeared pleased with their 2nd District officers, and seemed even more so when Mroz, Tomlinson and Dolbow agreed to combine the meetings with the monthly PSA event. Starting next month, the first 30 minutes of community associations will be devoted to issues in PSA 2, with officers, lieutenants and sergeants reviewing pressing neighborhood issues.

Also at last night’s meeting…Town Watch President and PDAC liaison Ken Hyers announced the date for the annual Community Day event. Th event will be held June 5 at the Target on Bustleton Avenue, and will include a 10-mile bike ride for all ages, several resource tables and demonstrations and services from the K-9 unit, fire department and more. Hyers also emphasized the need for town watch volunteers. With 10,000 houses in the neighborhood, he said, “If each house donated one hour, I’d need you once every three years.” … Phil Grutzmacher presented the recent zoning issues: 415 Levick St. has a Feb 21 hearing to legalize the property as a three-family dwelling. The house has been structured this way for many years, and neighbors approve of the legalization. The owner of 616-18 Magee Ave. has a proposal to build a 20 ft. by 18 ft. garage on the property, which will sit on the foundation of a previous similarly-sized garage. The hearing is set for today, and should be approved. A client is looking to put a restaurant at 6504 Rising Sun Ave., which will include seating and take-out. While one resident argued the avenue already hosts two failing restaurants and a vacant one, the community association board is not opposed to the new restaurant.

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