Most of my posts are concerning sustainable design, solar energy grants, that kind of stuff. Here is a MAJOR (yes caps) multi-decade horror story of unsustainable community design that rips any attempt at constructive placemaking in the CD to shreds. Regular readers have seen posts about gentrification, how the CD is a containament zone, and ongoing arson and violence. What you see below touches all of these. So, readers this is an election year, how should we as a community address this Parnells issue. The question is asked, so read below.
Date: Wed, Aug 14, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Subject: Re: Please help our neighborhood
To:, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
I would like to take a moment to solidly concur with every single thing Grace has written (below). The situation along the Dearborn corridor, but particularly around Parnell’s Mini Mart, has become intolerable.
Last night, we were witness to open-air drug dealing, public drinking, public urination, minors using drugs and alcohol, money and drugs changing hands, people sitting in their cars and raking out and snorting lines, and one very suspicious vehicle that had its license plates removed.
We called this in. Here’s what the police did: nothing.
Sunday, I saw two girls (about 13-15 years old) come to Parnell’s and wait on the curb. They didn’t have to wait long. A man approached them, they handed the man two ten-dollar bills. The man met briefly with a confederate and returned to hand the girls a small drug baggie. The girls slipped off to the cul-de-sac at the West end of Dearborn to share their purchase. I saw all of this from the roof of my garage. I could not have had a better view of what was going on if I was standing right next to them.
I called this in. Here’s what the police did: nothing.
This is not an occasional thing. This is every single night, rain or shine. And it has been going on for eleven years (per my personal experience) and has been going on since the 1980s according to longer residents. We complain. We have community meetings. Representatives from government and law enforcement show up and eagerly take notes as if they were hearing all of this for the first time.
And here’s what happens: nothing.
We have all been told “be sure to call these events in,” but I am here to tell you that endeavor yields nothing. I have dealt with everything from indifference to ridicule when calling police dispatchers. No one (except the residents) appears to take any of this seriously.
The re-striping and re-curbing of the parking lot at Parnell’s Mini Mart has not made the drug dealers and chronic public inebriates go away; it has simply moved them across the street, where they hang out next to a vacant building with apparent impunity. Parnell’s continues to furnish them with cheap alcohol, and they continue to break the law. When a police cruiser does come by, it keeps on moving.
And here’s what happens: nothing.
I am confident that I am sharing nothing new here. But I am sick to death of this situation, and I want to know what steps are going to be taken to alleviate these problems and make this a neighborhood again. And I hope your advice is better than “keep calling dispatch,” because I have lost all faith in that approach. The people on the other end of the phone make it abundantly clear that they aren’t interested.
The lawlessness and unsanitary behavior around Parnell’s Mini Mart and the vacant building across from it needs to stop.
FromTo: matthew.york <[email protected]>; ron.wilson <[email protected]>; nick.metz <[email protected]>; john.hayes <[email protected]>; sally.bagshaw <[email protected]>; stan.lock <[email protected]>; Dan.Okada <[email protected]>;
Cc: Sent: Tue, Aug 13, 2013 10:57 pm
Subject: Please help our neighborhood
Good evening, although I am actually not having a very good evening. Here’s why:
How would you like to have a constant block party going on right outside your back door every day? Complete with hookers, drug dealers, drunks peeing on the sidewalk, firecrackers, piles of garbage and empty bottles, blaring offensive music, people yelling and screaming, and more than just occasionally, gunfire. I bet you wouldn’t like it just as much as I don’t like it. How about the three guys who camp out on the sidewalk every day and night for hours, drinking and selling drugs? They bring chairs! We’ve tried asking these people to be quiet, to move, to pick up their garbage, to use a restroom to relieve themselves instead of using my garden. But drunks and stoners and criminals don’t seem to care. I thought that the city did not allow homeless encampments on public property, but that is essentially what we have occurring on our block. Yesterday, I watched yet again as one of these men unzipped his trousers right in front of me, in broad daylight, pulled out his penis and urinated on a street tree outside my garage. This was less than two hours after I had asked these gentlemen personally not to use the street as a restroom.
But what is more outrageous is that this poor tree, and more than 30 other trees on Dearborn Street between 23rd and MLK, all were planted as part of a neighborhood improvement project that I helped organize back in 2005. We got trees donated by the city, acquired some grant money to remove concrete filling the parking strip and hire local teenagers to help, then planted trees and ground cover along three city blocks. All this was accomplished with the help of dozens of neighbors who came together to work on improving the streetscape to deter crime. Now, to watch these chronic public inebriates killing the trees with their beer-laden piss is an incredible insult to our neighborhood. As well as being illegal.
I called 911 to complain around 9:30 this evening (Aug. 13) and the dispatcher said she would pass on the information, but we didn’t see any police units come by on our block. Would it be possible to find out if any record of my complaint exists?
This is just the latest in 11 years of complaints to the city about the crime occurring around Parnell’s Mini Mart at the corner of 23rd Avenue South and South Dearborn. And yet the party continues in the street, right outside my door. Can any of you do anything to deter this illegal activity that does so much to damage the quality of life in my neighborhood?
I certainly understand that the Police Department has more important crimes to worry about, but thank you at least for reading this complaint.