Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Noise Complaint Leads to Drug Arrest

While articles on crime don't usually seem a positive thing to post, I consider this Morning Call article below to cover an element of progress: A resident called on a noise complaint, officers responded quickly enough to catch him, and ended up arresting him for drug dealing.  This wouldn't likely have happened a year ago, for a couple of reasons: 1) residents had had such bad experiences with police in the past, that they didn't bother to call at all, and 2) police were not busting regularly for nuisance crimes. A couple of things happened that have brought this new cooperation about, as far as I have been able to cobble together: 1) A couple of years ago, several bad officers were fired/retired/let go and Larry Palmer was made Police Chief--he then emphasized to his officers the need to treat residents with respect and restore resident trust, 2) residents began organizing and putting pressure on the EPD to start busting for nuisance crimes in the West Ward, because we believed most nuisance crimes to be generated by drug dealers who want to dominate our streets, and we thought it would present opportunities for arrests on more serious charges. As evidenced by the nuisance crime citations that led to drug arrests by the bike patrols a few months ago, and in this article here, that resident hunch has proven to be valid. The EPD recognizes that and has been encouraging residents to call in nuisance crimes, where residents were previously accustomed to being discouraged from calling.

So although I am posting on crime in the West Ward today, I consider this to be a posting on a bit of progress, in that residents and the EPD are beginning to work together to reduce crime in our neighborhood:

If you see or hear and nuisance crimes on your block, please call the Easton Police Non-Emergency number on the right side of this page and an officer will be dispatched.  Busting for nuisance crimes not only offers the possibility of a more serious arrest, it sends a message that good residents own our streets and will not tolerate drug activity. With the EPD's help, we will continue to make sure this message is heard.


Dennis R. Lieb said...

Two quick observations...

First, the six reader comments associated with the story in the MCall are all quite nasty and focused along racial lines. They also appear to be non-Easton residents, which is bazaar. Why waste your time babbling crap about a place you don't live in?

It is unfortunate that morons on both sides of the fence have nothing better to do than spread venom online...they are part of the problem. There is no ethnic or racial group in the West Ward that has a monopoly on spreading misery - all are contributing equally to the problem. All of us need to contribute to the solutions and hold our own peers responsible when necessary.

Second, the story was written by Tracy Jordan. She was the best Easton beat reporter we ever had, especially for digging up the truth on the various political fascos that helped run the city into the ground. She has been working the Allentown beat for a number of years. Wondering why she did this Easton story...is the MCall so stretched for money these days that they are spreading their reporters duties to the breaking point? We may be seeing the last days of the paper.


noel jones said...

I, too have been shocked and dismayed at the ignorant and often bigoted comments posted to articles in the on line papers, and I try to counter them occasionally with something positive, while at the same time realistic. I hate the idea that potential home buyers who do their homework on this area before making a decision might read the comments on these papers and think that we are all lazy, ignorant, bigoted apathetic complainers, rather than passionate concerned neighbors who are working hard to revitalize the West Ward and Easton in general.

As Dennis pointed out, the papers are suffering, not just here, but all over the nation. It seems clear that on line papers will become the standard, and so the comments made on line become more important as they get more and more readership.

There is no greater obstacle to revitalization than apathy and cynicism. I strongly encourage anyone who has the time to browse the online papers once each day, and post something positive and realistic to balance out some of this vitriol. It is constant bad press for our area, and it's important to counter it--however--I would suggest not responding to posters directly, but rather, just making your own statement. All we need to do is sound balanced, intelligent and committed in a single post to let the other nonsense be seen for what it is.

Mrs.TMiller said...

Dennis, Michael is the only reporter left covering Easton, and he now covers everything in an around Easton.

On the West Ward front, we were coming home the other day and a car pulled up to Ferry Street with its radio blaring as three Easton bike police pedaled up Walnut. The officers shouted at the driver to "turn it down and keep it down." I was happy to see them do something about it! Only I'm wondering why they didn't ticket the guy (or do something besides yell at him). Anyway, the radio went down, at least for the moment! :-)

noel jones said...

That's good news--I agree they should ticket, but at least they are sending the message that they need to turn it down. I have heard that officers in Bethlehem do this a lot--driving up next to loud cars and telling them to turn it down. However, there seems to be some inconsistency to enforcement of the ordinance, and I would like to see it enforced every time, so that the message is stronger, and that the City can bring in the revenue from the tickets.

As for the Morning Call, I noticed today that the have a new web site up, and that the Easton Two Rivers Blog is not part of it, so we can only hope that Michael is still reporting for the main paper.

Lastly, I hope that everyone will come out to the City Council meeting tonight, as a police housing incentive is finally being considered, but currently does not target the WW and SS where it is most needed. We need to speak up as a neighborhood on this, to urge Council to either use the incentive for our neighborhoods that need it most, or offer a higher incentive in the WW and SS.

I hope to see you there!

Dennis R. Lieb said...

To Mrs. TMiller and Noel...

I know Mike Duck is stretched covering all of Northampton County plus the city beat. I was told that all the reporters hosting blogs off the MCall network were going to have to shut them down. This doesn't mean he isn't working there anymore. Hope there's another venue we can follow his work at.

The bike cops (and patrol cars) in Bethlehem regularly tell people to turn down the car stereos - I've seen them do it. Ticketing on every occassion seems like overkill. Cops are human like everyone else and will occassionally have bad days when they don't consistantly follow protocal. I'm happy with warnings as long as it's done consistantly. Violators with other issues like blacked out window glass, etc. should be scrutinized closely and ticketed...we all know who the scumbags are.


noel jones said...

Yes, tinted windows and people who double park when there's an available parking spot nearby...

I got a message back from Michael Duck--he's still on the Easton beat:

"I'm still here. I think I had mentioned that the Easton blog's days were numbered; it's now been subsumed into the new Valley-wide local news blog (Valley610).

There's Easton news on the new mcall.com, but it might not be that easy to find just yet. I've tweeted a rundown here:

And I'll be at City Council tonight!"