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Crimes citywide dropping

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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    Posted: Oct 10 2010 at 9:42am

Crimes citywide dropping, but Sherman still a hotbed

City has designated neighborhood ‘high stress’; residents say police presence needed.

By Jessica Heffner, Staff Writer 11:11 PM Saturday, October 9, 2010

MIDDLETOWN — It’s not that Renee Hamm feels unsafe on her street, but she says there’s something wrong when she can sit on her porch and watch a drug deal go down in broad daylight.

The Crawford Street resident said she has never received a threat since she moved into the Sherman neighborhood five years ago. But during that time, she and her boyfriend, Calvin Ellis, have seen houses broken into and an increase in vandalism.

Hamm has added locks to the gate in her backyard to protect her two young children, not so much for fear of them trying to go out, but more for who might try to get in.

“You can sit and watch a drug deal go down right in front of you, and you’ve got prostitutes walking right down the street making calls, and no one stops them,” Hamm said.

Thanks to some new efforts by police to prevent crime, such as the Drug Market Intervention Program and the summer downtown police task force that resulted in more than 100 arrests, Sgt. Jim Cunningham said citywide crimes are on track to decrease in 2010. But neighborhoods like Sherman are still hotbeds for crimes, especially drugs, vandalism and thefts.

“The same neighborhoods are getting the same crimes and the same problems,” he said.

Sherman has been designated as a “high stress” neighborhood by the city for its crime, dilapidated houses, streets in need of repair and density of subsidized housing. It’s also one of the top neighborhoods for Section 8 housing.

Cunningham acknowledged that all cities with subsidized housing struggle with crime in high-density neighborhoods. But in his experience, the majority of Section 8 residents in Middletown don’t cause problems. Only about 10 percent of voucher holders cause problems, making up about 20 percent of all the calls for service police make in Middletown, he said.

With the recent termination of the city’s Section 8 program administrator, Columbus-based Consoc Housing Consultants, Cunningham said he hopes the next company will take a more active role in kicking criminals out of the program as required, and thereby help reduce the overall crime.

“There are a lot of people on Section 8 that are actively or have committed crime that are in violation of the public housing law, and they should be eliminated from the program,” he said. “We were not seeing that all the time, that follow-up effort on crime from (Consoc).”

Resident Billy Malicote said he believes the problem could be fixed by more police presence — and a better attitude by officers when they do respond to a call.

“There is a distrust of the police. They treat the victim like they are a criminal when they get here,” he said. “If they want to step up their game here, that doesn’t mean intimidating the people who called them.”

Trouble neighborhoods 'not getting any better’

Angela Hammond and her husband, Robert, only need to look out their front window to know there are gang and drug problems on their street. The shoes dangling on the power lines say it all.

“That’s how they mark their territory,” Robert Hammond said, gesturing to the white sneakers hanging on power lines that cross the street. A blue kerchief dangles from the shoes, the color indicating whose gang dominates on Crawford Street.

“Every once in awhile a new gang-banger shows up and its a new color. Another group is taking over,” he said.

And the criminals aren’t afraid, Angela Hammond said. In the four years she has lived on Crawford in the Sherman neighborhood, she has seen how they’ll perform a drug deal in the middle of the day in front of people sitting on the front porch. She said it’s because they know it will take police several hours to respond to a call.

“You see them (the police) go up and down the street sometime, but when a drug deal goes down, it will take them two and a half hours to come, and by then, everyone is gone,” she said.

Her family has already been victim to some of the milder crimes. Angela Hammond said she’s had to replace flowers in her gardens too many times to count because of vandals, and recently, her husband’s bike was stolen from their locked garage.

With two teenage kids, the Hammonds said they’re afraid they’ll be influenced by the bad crowd that has taken over their street.

“It’s not getting any better and we are thinking about moving. It is not safe for my kids,” Angela Hammond said.

Overall crime down

According to a recent report by Middletown police, crimes are on track to decrease in 2010. This is especially true of certain crimes — homicides, rapes, burglaries, robberies, thefts, felonious assaults and auto thefts, said Sgt. Jim Cunningham.

He attributes the drop to more preventive programs — police launched a prostitution task force downtown and a new Drug Market intervention program.

While the statistics are good news overall , pockets of the city are still experiencing higher crime issues.

Cunningham said troubled neighborhoods like Sherman are still have higher crime rates than the rest of the city, especially with thefts, vandalism and assaults.

Last year there were two homicides. This year the only homicide victim in the city has been Randy Manies, a 40-year-old Middletown man who was killed during a robbery gone bad. Three people are now on trial for his death.

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Rob Smith said Manies was well known in the neighborhood and his death hit people hard, especially after police said he was killed while being robbed for less than $150.

“There ain’t enough employment about this part of town,” Smith said as he walked down Crawford . “But no one today wants to drag themselves out of here and help themselves.”

Resident Joshua Frazier said he thinks the problem on Crawford Street has gotten worse .

“This is a bad neighborhood. I wouldn’t raise my kids around here,” he said.

Taking action

How the high crime in neighborhoods like Sherman can be solved depends on who you talk to. Renee Hamm and her boyfriend, Calvin Ellis, said the vacant, dilapidated homes and “trashy yards” don’t help . They said they’d like to organize the neighborhood to clean up the streets.

“Maybe they’ll have more pride,” Hamm said.

Billy Malicote said he thinks police need to respond to calls quicker and be more respectful of the victims when they do call for help.

Cunningham said police hope a new Section 8 administrator will help crack down on program members that are in violation but have not been booted from the program.

A database was set up in January by the police and Community Revitalization departments to track calls for service in correlation with Section 8 tenants, landlords and properties.

While the city was able to forward violations found by the system to its Section 8 administrator, Consoc Housing Consultants, for action, Community Revitalization Director Doug Adkins said the company never set up a complaint tracking system to verify what happened with the violations. It’s one of the reasons City Council terminated the company’s contract.

Adkins said violators in the Section 8 program add to the crime problems, even for residents who are not causing problems.

“It goes both ways. Even if Section 8 people are not causing the crime they are living in neighborhoods that have high crime,” he said. “Whether they are victims of the crime or the one committing it, it is not a good situation for the city or the Section 8 program.”

In a recent report of neighborhoods targeted for improvements sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sherman was not listed — omitted in favor of neighborhoods at risk of slipping into the problems it already faces, Adkins said.

Sherman is already highly distressed and it is going to take more resources and planning and thought to deal with that situation,” he said.

With a new Section 8 administrator proposed to start in six months coupled with program policy changes passed by City Council to improve the program, Adkins hopes the program will see improvements and help neighborhoods like Sherman.

Sherman residents agreed that something needs to be done, and soon.

“People are leaving this town,” Malicote said. “There are no jobs and a high crime rate and it won’t be long before no one wants to live here.”

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Hermes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2010 at 2:01pm
So thats where all the dealers and hookers moved to ! When you run them out of one neighborhood they just go to another.
 
Cops don't want to have to deal with dealers & hookers they might be armed ! I think it's a union rule when a call comes in about drug dealing & hookers you have to wait an hour before you respond...it gives them time to change corners or hide.
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!
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viper771 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote viper771 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 12:09am

Start doing drug testing for people on Section 8.. and see a lower number of people on the program. If I had to do random drug testing to be in the army, people who are getting money from the govt should have to do a drug test. Not everyone on Section 8 is taking advantage of it. Some people really need it. But, I see a lot of people on it that shouldn't be.

It shouldn't take 2 hrs for the cops to come when the police station is a few minutes away. Also, a lot of these "run down areas" could look a lot better if people took some pride in cleaing up their area and being responsible for themselves. I am so tired of picking up trash in my front yard from lazy ass people throwing trash out of their cars, or just tossing it on my yard as they walk by.
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Bobbie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bobbie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 8:18am

I am so much not a fan of the Midd Journal.  It seems like everytime I read an article - it always leaves me with more questions.  I read this article, again the city placing blame on Consoc - however only 10% are the problem makers.  One would think that some of the calls probably did not result in arrests - so not necessarily should be kicked off the program.  A breakdown of the calls should be provided.  I would also think you could not be kicked off a program till you are found guilty.  Are you not presumed innocent till found guilty. 

I will be the first to say that 10% is 10% to many when they are getting free money - free to them, costly to me.  What is the average for some of the other agencies that run Sec 8, such Butler Metropolitan?  Where all of the Section 8 homes that they were called on ran by Consoc, or are some of them Butler Met.  If they are not, getting rid of Consoc will not eleviate the problem. 

More disturbing in this article is the 2 hour turn time for an officer to arrive, and the attitude.  They mention the drug intervention program.  Seems like I remember a young man that failed in that program was recently killed.  I would like to know the statistics on that program - how many come in and how many are kicked out.  Yet they say this has helped decrease crime.
 
What do you say Middletown Journal - why don't you start telling the whole story and not just what makes the city look perfect.  Things can never get better unless you state and fix the issues.  Denial of problems, does not make them go away.
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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 10:55am

Bobbie
You hit the nail on the head of this problem.
Blaming CONSOC for the Section 8 problem and crime is a joke.
Mr. Adkins is not giving one dime of CDBG money to the areas that need it most for the next five years.
Here is link to the posts that should go with this article.
http://middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=3223

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Hermes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 11:39am
" I would also think you could not be kicked off a program till you are found guilty.  Are you not presumed innocent till found guilty."
 
I don't know how it got turned around,probably lost in translation in some supreme court ruling,but to me it's always been "guilty until proven innocent". If you were innocent until proven guilty then you would not have to prove your innocence. Trying going to court and saying your innocent until proven guilty,it doesn't work.
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 2:48pm

Folks, you seem to be missing a key statement in The Journal story. (A statement that also backs up a lot of what I have been opining here in this forum.):

“In a recent report of neighborhoods targeted for improvements sent to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Sherman was not listed — omitted in favor of neighborhoods at risk of slipping into the problems it already faces, Adkins said.”

My interpretation of this bit of “government-speak”???

“Now that we’ve got the federal bucks to improve these poor, crime-ridden neighborhoods--the hell with those poor folk!!! We’ll use the money in our cronies’ neighborhoods.”

Now, does anyone remember which neighborhoods were at (or very near) the top of the list in that report??? Well, I don’t want you to take my word for it, so you’ll have to look it up for yourselves, but here are a couple of hints:

The neighborhood at the very top of the list is “In a Historic District” and has the lowest “Vacant Housing” rate (4.00%) of any neighborhood on the list.

Another neighborhood very near the top of the list includes Bull Run Arboretum and has the second lowest “Vacant Housing” rate (4.04%) of any neighborhood on the list.

The list can be found here: http://www.middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=3223

Draw your own conclusions.

“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Nelson...Himself View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nelson...Himself Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 3:11pm
Thanks..so..much..for..your..posts..Miss..Vivian..and..Mike.
 
The..Community..Revitalization..Department..is..spending..$97,000+..for..one..house..in..Ward..2.
 
This..purchase/rehab/resale..project..is..located...not..real..far..from..the..Sonny..Hill..Community..Center.
 
In..talking..with..local..real..estate..professionals..they're..astounded..by..the..$97,000+..expenditure.
 
Didn't..a..certain..City..department..head..say..that..it..was..OK..to..lose..up..to..$75,000..on..house..projects?
 
Judging..by..the..list..of..properties..acquired..and..undergoing..rehab..it..seems..that..money..is..no..object.
 
What..a..City..as..VietVet..would..say.
 
The..4th..floor..of..Municipal..Building..has..some..vermin..blowing..our..tax..dollars..says..Miss..Vivian.
 
Let's..hope..that..the..current..U.S...Congress..doesn't..approve..more..Federal.."Schtimulus..Moolah."
 
It..wasn't..long..ago..that..a..senior..City..staff.."expert"..hoped..to..get..$19,000,000..more..in..NSP..funds.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 3:27pm
No Nelson that was HUD that said that not you buddy Adkins.Big%20smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nelson...Himself Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 3:53pm
Pacman,
 
I..re-read..your.."cut..&..paste"..post..of..the..2/2010.City..Council's..Housing..Sub-Committee..meeting.
 
I..thank..you..once..again..for..providing..the..comments..reportedly..made..by..Mr...Adkins.
 
Did..he..ever..tell..you..who..at..HUD..informed..him..that..it..was..OK..to..lose..up..to..$75,000/project?
 
Since..you..brought..up..this..topic..we'd..like..to..know..more..Pacman.
 
Please..inform..us??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2010 at 4:04pm
Originally posted by Nelson...Himself Nelson...Himself wrote:

Thanks..so..much..for..your..posts..Miss..Vivian..and..Mike.
 
The..Community..Revitalization..Department..is..spending..$97,000+..for..one..house..in..Ward..2.
 
This..purchase/rehab/resale..project..is..located...not..real..far..from..the..Sonny..Hill..Community..Center.
 
In..talking..with..local..real..estate..professionals..they're..astounded..by..the..$97,000+..expenditure.
 
Didn't..a..certain..City..department..head..say..that..it..was..OK..to..lose..up..to..$75,000..on..house..projects?
 
Judging..by..the..list..of..properties..acquired..and..undergoing..rehab..it..seems..that..money..is..no..object.
 
What..a..City..as..VietVet..would..say.
 
The..4th..floor..of..Municipal..Building..has..some..vermin..blowing..our..tax..dollars..says..Miss..Vivian.
 
Let's..hope..that..the..current..U.S...Congress..doesn't..approve..more..Federal.."Schtimulus..Moolah."
 
It..wasn't..long..ago..that..a..senior..City..staff.."expert"..hoped..to..get..$19,000,000..more..in..NSP..funds.
 
 
Nelson, read your quoted meesage above written less than 1 hr. ago, you brought it up not me.
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