Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Potential Gang Turf Battle?

Several weeks ago I noticed graffiti on the side of the small neighborhood store located at 5th and Broad Streets. I wanted to comment on this graffiti but have had little time. The black spray painted graffiti contained the letters G and D, a pitchfork and an upside down #5, also with a pitchfork coming off it. The meaning of this all translated points to a gang known as Gangster Disciples marking their territory. This gang originally is Chicago based but well established nationwide in various areas. They fall under the Folk nation, and are represented by a pitchfork, 6 pointed star, the colors black and white among others. The upside down #5 with a pitchfork coming off it is to disrespect the People's nation, most likely the Bloods gang, which has a strong presence in Center City and represents under the #5 and color red as most people know.

What I found more interesting is this building again caught my eye a few weeks ago. It seems somebody came along and painted over the Gangster Disciple graffiti! Yep, now a #5 was upwards and I believe there was a 5 pointed star - The Bloods gang was answering the "disrespect" and reclaiming their turf.

Long story short - there are two rival gangs in Millville openly disrespecting each other and laying claim to criminal activity/drug trades etc... in the city. This will only lead to one sure bet as the summer months are upon us, and that is a big increase in street/gang violence. Hopefully law enforcement is keeping tabs on local graffiti and the known gang members. This post is to let the community know what is going on and to be more vigilant in keeping your own children safe while being aware of your neigbhorhoods.

Fortunately, the store owners finally removed and scrubbed off the graffiti a week or so ago, but the damage is already done on the street, because the people involved will surely act out against one another.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stop it already with the "home invasion" nonsense

A pet peeve with the editors of local newspapers is with the misleading attention-grabbing headlines. A common example, especially with the Daily Journal, is the use of the wards "Home Invasion" regarding the reporting of some recent incidents.

These words are are intended to generate apprehension and fear in the general public, and hence to sell more newspapers. This culture of fear is not healthy for the community or well-being of the neighborhoods. God knows we need all of the positive reinforcement and support we can get as citizen-groups, the city and churches work diligently and cooperate to stem the tide of blight that threatens our neighborhoods.

Yes, we do have a gang problem. Yes we do have a problem with nuisance activities such as prostitution and drugs plaguing our city. Our neighborhoods have a litter problem, and we cannot sleep at night due to nuisance activity that is not quite criminal.

However - we do NOT have a problem with innocent bystanders being shot in drive-by's. We don't have an epidemic of innocent people having their doors kicked in, and housed robbed at gunpoint by complete strangers.

The wanton use of the term "home invasion" by our local press creates visions of roving gangs preying upon the innocent. This is just not so. in every case of a "home invasion" that I have discussed with our law reinforcement, drugs were involved. Almost every incident involves a drug deal gone bad.

The shootings are either drug related, or gang related, or in some sad instances the results of domestic situations that should have been dealt with long ago.

I am a firm believer in confronting issues head-on. I don't advocate sticking our heads int he proverbial sands and pretending there are not crime issues. However, it is critical that we understand clearly the causes and factors.

For years our local law enforcement and even members of city commission denied we had a gang problem. If you refuse to admit a problem, you cannot begin to solve it. Only upon recognizing this plague have we begun taking action. And so it is with all areas of nuisance and criminal conduct. We must recognize, acknowledge and attack.

This of course, does not negate the responsibility of every citizen to take action to ensure their own security and the security of their households. With only 80 or so police in a city of 27.000 chances are law enforcement will arrive AFTER the fact. Your eyes are the most important, if we want to make headway.

Millville Curfew for Juveniles Changed

The city commission approved a change in the city ordinance changing curfews from 10PM on school nights to 9PM. Here is the story in the Daily Journal.

The time change is the only change to the ordinance.  Juveniles commuting to or from work, church, or school or social event are exempt.

This ordinance was proposed by members of CiPAC (Citizen-Police Advisory Council), and the Weed and Seed Steering Committee.

It is not intended to harass individuals, but rather to give police one more tool in curtailing nuisance activities now that summer is upon us.

We had unanimous support from city hall and from law enforcement. Apparently the only vocal opposition has come from an anti-government group of grumpy old men that hate anything and everything that would make Millville better and increase the quality of life. I can't understand why one of their prominent members, bob Tesoroni, would blame police for the nuisance problems in the neighborhoods.

With a police force of 80 people more or less in a city of 27,000 we need, and law enforcement needs every tool possible to fight this cancer that was wrought and perpetrated on the city by members of that very same group with their urgent support of low-income housing projects in the 70's, and with their continued "investment" in rentals in the city, as opposed to supporting home-ownership.

At the same city commission meeting, commissioner Jim Quinn urged support for a resolution requiring police presence at city commission meetings after members of this very same group became disorderly and refused to abide by the rules of order. Their antics necessitated the premature closure of the commission meeting.

Quinn cited a recent example of a gun-toting person shooting up congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as reason. I will note that there are some people that I truly believe are unstable carrying concealed weapons in Millville. This is a common sense move on the commission's part.