Sunday, July 12, 2009

Look beyond the obvious

As I move about town in my daily routine, I often see people mulling about in what would appear to be normal daily life. However, once I began taking closer note my surroundings, it was clear that illicit activity takes place frequently in plain view, with most people not even aware of what goes on beneath our nose! One such example is the car wash/laundrymat located near 7th and Main Streets. I will emphasize that the owner is a decent hard working man, and was very responsive to any information I passed along to him. He was very thankful and does not tolerate undesirable activity.

That being said, I began to notice over a period of time there was a certain transient element frequenting the car wash/laundry areas. On face value, it appeared to be a person simply using the restroom for a moment, or a driver stopping to vacuum out a vehicle. Upon closer observation I noticed often times people were never actually putting coins into the vacuum, but rather mulling about "pretending" to be busy. Within minutes another person or vehicle would show up briefly, a hand-to-hand exchange would take place and both parties would be on their way.

Inside the laundrymat, I would watch people walk in from the street, enter the restroom, then leave. A few minutes later a second person would drive up and walk in to use the restroom, making eye contact and perhaps a quick word with the last person to exit the restroom who was still loitering around. I would actually hear people hopping onto the toilet and removing the lone light fixture. Apparently it was being used as a money drop and drug pick up site!! This was confirmed one day when I overheard a buyer and dealer discuss whether "the money was in place." I began to wonder how many of these public sites exist all over town that people don't even pay attention to, but foster an element that contributes to the problems the town faces.

My point is for others to simply take an extra moment in your daily routine when moving about town to increase your awareness. You may be amazed to find how brazen (or stupid) the criminal element can be, and how easily you can gather and forward information to the appropriate people to address the problem.


Anonymous said...

Sal Governale of the Howard Stern show yesterday stated that your town was incredibly dangerous and that Millville was like a part of Kentucky that landed in New Jersey. Any truth to that?


Jeff Starship said...

Absolutely, I lived there for 17 years a got the hell out. The only problem is he mentioned Walnut Ave and I believe that's in Bridgeton?