Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking News

Approximately 45 minutes ago, www.NJ.com is reporting a gunshot victim and ambulances needed (as well as a medical examiner which is not good) on South 2nd Street at Delsea Village Apartments. No other information available as of yet.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adopt-A-Block 2012 schedule

February is just about here and that means Adopt-a-Block will be kicking off very shortly!

Please, mark your calendars for this years clean-ups.

Date/Time: 3rd Saturday of each month @ 10:00am
Place: St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Corner of 3rd & Mulberry
Millville, NJ
Event: Clean-up of Millville City Blocks

Saturday, February 18
Saturday, March 17

Saturday, April 21
Saturday, May 19
Saturday, June 16
Saturday, July 21
Saturday, August 18
Saturday, September 15
Saturday, October 20
Saturday, November 17

These clean-ups will be held at 10:00am at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church with food and drinks for everyone who participates following the clean-up.

Hope to see everyone at the clean-up!

Also, don't forget to "Like" us on Facebook or "Follow us" on Twitter (you can do so with the links below):

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Center City Crime Watch holds first meeting

Center City Crime Watch of Millville held the first official meeting tonight.
The Center City Crime Watch of Millville held its first meeting Tuesday evening on the 100 block of 4th Street to a small group with big plans.
Mary Messeck, the leader of the initiative, was involved in the city’s crime watch involving the Third Ward and Millville Gardens during the 1990s and hopes to bring back the awareness and put the attention on the center city.
Her newsletter will soon be available at Bogarts Bookstore, as per her networking with the shop’s owner, and available at all city commission meetings.
I had other obligations tonight and was unable to attend this meeting. However, we did endorse the meeting and Mary at the recent CiPAC (Citizen-Police Advisory Council) meeting last week. If you are not already subscribed, we encourage you to add Center City Crime Watch of Millville to your Facebook account.

Also, we ensure privacy and confidentiality to anyone that would submit tips via this website.

Millville gets another police dog

Millville just added a fourth police dog to the force!
Imagine a police force with every patrol officer assigned a K9 partner.
Police Chief Thomas Haas does.
“A lot of people, where they don’t respect police, they do respect the dog,” Haas said. “Also, a dog’s nose is a lot more sensitive for drugs.”
Realistically, Haas said, six K9s might be the most the police department can expect. And that goal got closer last week with the delivery of its fourth working dog, a male Belgian Malinois who now answers to the name “Treu.”
Haas used drug forfeiture money to purchase the dog - police dogs do not come cheap. I guess you can call that a unique form of justice - karma, if you will. You operate a 24-hour drugstore on our streets, your money goes to purchasepolice dogs!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


It is an easy number to remember. USE IT! 825-UGLY is a hotline that allows any Millville resident to call in a code violation anonymously. It is a recording, you don't even have to leave your name.

We discussed the 825-UGLY number last night at the Citizen-Police Advisory Council (CiPAC) meeting. besides getting word out to residents to call 825-UGLY when you see he illegal dumping of TV Sets on the curb, or slumlords allowing trash to sit on the curb four and five days before scheduled trash pick-up, we are urging the use of the number to report the locations of sneakers hanging from telephone wires.

The issue was addressed as a question from Sgt. Cramner to Mayor Shannon - what action can be taken to remove the shoes hanging from telephone wires?

As most of our readers already understand, shoes hanging from power lines are signs that there is a drug dealer in that vicinity. On Sassafras Street, the drug dealers hang out at 412 Sassafras, and often at 409 Sassafras. Also, the brand of sneaker will often be a clue to the gang that has claimed their turf.

Mayor Shannon said the city maintenance yard does have a bucket truck. He will be coordinating with the police department to remove the shoes from cable or telephone lines. The city cannot risk playing near the electrical lines due to safety issues - so possibly we need to coordinate an effort to force Atlantic City Electric into taking care of any shoes on power lines.

The police will note the shoes during the course of their daily routines, but we also are encouraging citizens to call the locations in. It takes 15-seconds, and it sends a message to the drug dealers that we are claiming our streets back.

Gunfire hits man, more shots fired this week

A 21-year old city man was hit in the leg this week as more gunfire erupted in center City, Millville.
A 21-year-old city man was shot in the leg Friday, and his East Vine Street residence was hit by several bullets four days later, police said.Bullets struck another home in that neighborhood on Sunday, police said.
I spoke at length with Chief Haas last night, and the MPD is taking corrective action. Changes are being made, and the department is using creative techniques to combat the current resurgence of gang activity. The chief agrees that this is all gang related. You can rest assured that none of the targeted houses or so-called victims are innocent bystanders. That doesn't make the situation any less dangerous.

Thanks to vocal anti-government groups such as Millville First, the police department is working with a less than optimal staffing level. However, creative solutions are putting more cops on the street when and where needed. The Chief also assures me that the Sheriff's Department is assisting with the deployment of Sheriff deputies working in town.

He also wants to get the word out to ask people to call in tips. 825-7010, and hit "0" to talk to dispatch - leave tips and call in immediately when you witness anything that warrants closer scrutiny from the police department. of course, if it is an actual emergency or life-threatening situation, call 911.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interesting possibility

As seen at www.homenewstribune.com New Brunswick NJ is forming an all volunteer auxilliary police force. Having grown up in New Brunswick, I am familiar with the area and think this will be a valuable asset not only to that community, but perhaps something Millville should pursue also.

I also lived in Toms River for several years. Toms River had an active auxiliary force while I was a resident. They assisted in things from maintaining a presence at large public events, to traffic control at accident and fire scenes, to providing additional patrols in township vehicles on weekends or busy holidays such as Halloween/Mischief night. They would also do ride alongs with full time officers frequently to learn and share information about happenings in the community.

I believe Millville could benefit from such a volunteer force. Younger adults who may aspire to get full-time positions in law enforcement can begin to build a resume and learn basic functions of community service. The local community college criminal justice program may be a great place to recruit volunteers. Retirees can find joy in volunteering in their community, and almost anybody who cares about their community may have an avenue to get involved if they choose.

By utilizing a group of auxiliary volunteers, the town would have extra eyes and ears at a minimal cost on the streets to interact with the community and bring concerns back to city officials. These same volunteers would also be trained and able to handle tasks such as traffic control and/or community policing to free up full time officers to concentrate more on serious crimes and issues affecting the city.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Report of a shot fired

In the News this afternoon:
A police officer on patrol Wednesday in Center City reported hearing a gunshot at about 11:20 p.m. in the area of North 4th Street. Investigation did not turn up any information.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Millville Police promise to protect your identity

The News of Cumberland County published a helpful article today. Millvilel police will not leak your identity if you call in a violent crime. I have said this many times, and it is good to see it in print.
...it is pertinent that the witness be kept anonymous.
“It depends on the crime, but in the situation of random shootings, they can remain anonymous completely,” Haas said.
Just in the past two weeks, Millville has experienced four reported shooting incidents, as well as a stabbing on Thursday.
“In the situation of the shootings, the identity of the witness is not needed in court,” Haas said. “If someone is being shot at, or sees someone shooting a gun, they need to tell us.
“There again, if they want to handle it themselves and not speak up, that doesn’t help us.”

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Shots Fired

At around 8am today (Saturday), there were reports of shots fired again in the area of 5th and Mulberry Streets.

Perhaps authorities can try something different to combat the problem. Maybe utilize some sort of portable surveillance camera that can be set up in target/hot areas such as 5th and Mulberry lately, where there is an obvious recurring problem and need for quick action. The item can be mounted on a telephone pole, or some other discreet location to provide video footage, and aid the police in identifying actors.

I would even suggest parking the police department's large command center vehicle right in front of the alleged problem house/s with one officer posted inside, and allow other officers to congregate there for report writing, or a hot cup of coffee during their shift. The pressure would (albeit temporarily) hurt the drug business and illegal activity currently drawn to the area, and send a message to the thugs that the police and honest citizens run the community, not them.

Perhaps a saturation of the neighborhood for petty items would be in order as well: Double parked vehicles, speeding, loud car stereos, J-walking, Loitering, bicycles at night without proper lighting, open containers etc... These smaller offenses will allow the police contact with more people, which adds pressure to the criminal element, and will also keep those who come into the area looking for drugs or to commit crimes from freely doing so, since they may fear being picked up for warrants, possession, or ticketed etc...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Heroin Bust at 3rd & Oak

Sheriff Deputies busted a local man for dealing drugs out of his home. Even worse, he had young children in the house.
On Wednesday, Detective Sgt. Nick Moore and detective Chris Carella were driving through Millville when they obtained some information that a man was at the intersection of 3rd and Oak Streets with some drugs.

They spotted 25-year-old Saul Thompson, who ran into his apartment.
It was to no avail because the officers were able to enter and discovered heroin, marijuana, a digital scale and over $1,000 cash.

K-9 Loki with his officer Curtis Shaffer sniffed out the heroin.

Thompson was charged with possession of heroin, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, resisting arrest by flight, possession of drug paraphernalia, obstruction of justice and endangering the welfare of a child.

Man stabbed Thursday Night on 2nd Street

The Atlantic City Press reports:
A Millville man was stabbed four times late Thursday night, police said in a news release.
Latif Ali, 51, of Millville, told police that he was walking around Second and Broad streets when he was approached by two men wearing hooded sweatshirts. The men asked Ali for change and Ali said he was then stabbed by one of the men.


There was a stabbing last night of a male subject. He was found with multiple stab wounds near his apartment on Riverside Drive, but reports say he may have been approached by two males in hoodies near 2nd and Broad Street and stabbed there. He then reportedly walked home and collapsed near his front door.

Seems odd a person would get stabbed and walk across town without stopping in one of many area businesses along the route to summon assistance, however this is what information is available so far.

Mayor speaks out about crime

Mayor Tim Shannon spoke out at his annual State of the City address about the current crime wave.
Public safety is the top priority for city government in 2012 and a “very aggressive” policing plan is on the way to stop incidents like the spree of firearm use over the last few weeks in the Center City, Mayor Tim Shannon said Thursday.“I think what we need to do is we need to take a look at some of the mandatory jail time for non-violent crime, have that maybe looked at and rescinded, and save some of that space in jail for these violent crime offenders and gun offenders,” Shannon said. “Folks in the neighborhood need to step up and help our police. They need to be the eyes and the ears.”
It is a crying shame that the commissioner of Public Safety, Dave Vanaman, is doing absolutely nothing. He has no ideas to combat the crime. He just sits there on his high horse and says, we are doing something but I am not going to tell you what we are doing. Meanwhile, nothing is being done.

I have some questions, Why haven't the State Police been called in to assist? When Camden has a problem they are there quick enough. Why hasn't the incompetent sheriff Bob Austino offered to have Sheriff Deputies assist on patrols. When Mike Barruzza was sheriff, he was quick to offer assistance. It seems that the only thing Austino wants to do is patrol in Bridgeton for his friend and party compatriot Al Kelly.

As commissioner of Public Safety, Dave Vanaman needs to step up to the plate, and actually take control of his department rather than trying to figure out new ways to be witty and snide at city commission meetings.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A moment of silence for Marco

One of Millville PD's retired K-9's passed.

Detective Lt. Les Watson reported the passing of Marco, a Belgium Malinois, on Tuesday.
“Imported from Holland, retired police K9 Marco. . . joined the Millville police department in 2001 and was assigned to officer Terrance Fawcett, as his K9 handler,” said Watson.

He also noted that Marco had an extensive education in law enforcement.

“K9 Marco graduated from the NJ Police Canine Association Academy in 2001 where he obtained his certification in patrol work. Later that year, K9 Marco graduated the NJ State Police Canine Academy and was certified in narcotic work.”

Watson said Marco worked for six years, and then retired in 2007 to live with Fawcett and his family.

“K9 Marco is credited with countless criminal apprehensions and narcotic seizures during his career,” concluded Watson.
The News of Cumberland County has a write-up of the recent spate of shootings in Millville.

An ice cream shop and an intersection that was already the scene of three shootings in two days were peppered with bullets over the weekend in two separate shooting incidents.

No one was injured, but police still asked for the public’s assistance in finding those responsible.
The worrisome thing here is the fact that one shooting happened in broad daylight, at a busy area, and nobody saw anything.
Detective Sgt. Harrold Duffield said police were dispatched to the 500 block of North 2nd Street for a report of gunshots at 1:45 p.m. Saturday. “Police for there and attempted speaking to people in the area, but they did not receive any pertinent information.”
Obviously when witnesses refuse to cooperate with law enforcement, their hands are tied. They need a few people to step forward, and to stop being cowards. It is a shame that these same people will whine about the crime, and complain about the shootings, but their mouths are zipped and they treat our cops as the enemy.
Duffield asked for the public’s assistance in stopping the shootings, and said the police department had noticed the amount of crimes taking place in the area.

“I’m just asking that anyone with information regarding these shootings or others please contact the police at (856) 825-7010.”

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Gunshots at 2nd and Broad Sts

The Arts District extends to the corner of 3rd and Broad, on paper. However, greedy landlords and slumlords continue to rent their sleazy, filthy units to the criminal element. Second Street has many Victorian houses with wonderful architectural details, and many decent owners as witnessed by the intersection of Mulberry and 2nd Sts.

However, slumlords have all but devastated the 500 block of 2nd St., by recklessly renting to occupants that deal drugs in broad daylight and refusing to maintain clean and safe properties.The mini market owners refuse to discourage loitering on their property, and are slow to clean up debris on the sidewalks or parking lot adjacent to their store.

So is it any surprise that gunshots are frequently heard in this area? It was a big surprise to see that the Daily Journal actually reported on a recent incident. Most reports of gunfire in Millville never make the newspaper, as they are becoming more and more commonplace.
Shots were fired near a busy Center City intersection, police said Monday.
No one was injured when shots rang out around 2 p.m. Saturday near North 2nd and East Broad streets, according to Lt. Ed Zadroga.
Police found two bullet holes in an exterior wall of D&S Custard, which is at the intersection.
 Nice - gunfire in the middle of the day on New Year's Eve, at a busy intersection. There is a bank and a supermarket on the adjacent corner, Millville Queen Diner down the street. It is only a matter of time before innocent people are seriously injured.

Daily Journal reports on Sunday's gun violence

The Press of Atlantic City has completely ignored the recent eruption of shootings at 5th and Mulberry Streets in Millville. The News of Cumberland County ran an article paying lip service to the incident last week. Today, The Daily Journal ran their second article dealing with the situation.
An apartment house at North 5th and East Mulberry streets was hit when several gunshots were fired at it Sunday, marking the fourth time in five days police responded to reported gunfire near the intersection.
A drug turf war has been escalating ever since one slumlord rented an apartment to Bridgeton drug dealers. That is the word I hear from neighborhood residents familiar with the parties involved. The DJ fails to mention that the house that was the target of the gunfire is home to participants in the drug activity according to eyewitnesses. They are fearful of speaking up because, well, the bad guys all carry guns and they don't.
Witnesses reported hearing between 12 and 14 gunshots, followed by a pause, and then more shots.Police recovered bullet casings from .40-caliber and .380-caliber handguns, Zadroga said.
An eyewitness told me that a vehicle came around the block and began blasting away at the house. A male began running down the block, chased by the car, shots still being fired in his direction, and he cut down an alley to escape.

The house on the other side of the alley is owner-occupied, and wonderfully restored. It is a shame that home-owners that take pride in their properties are held hostage but out of town slumlords and careless landlords that rent to anybody that comes to them with a Section-8 voucher.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Stop the "No Snitch" Mentality

I hear people in the neighborhood commiserating about the shootings, the breaking and entering, the vandalism to vehicles prevalent and seeming on the rise. Many of them know who the culprits are, but when I ask them if they made a report to the police department, they hem and haw and make excuses.

The News of Cumberland County has run a few articles recently on the "no snitching" culture.

“It is the responsibility of all members of society to be witnesses if they see a crime. It’s a civic duty, and it’s necessary because if we don’t do that then we wind up where we are right now,” said Bridgeton police chief Mark Ott.

What he means by “. . .where we are right now,” is in the midst of a string of shootings that go unsolved because people, both criminals and regular citizens, will not speak to the police.
Of course with that civic duty of the residents comes an expectation that law enforcement will do its utmost to protect our privacy.

The fear that prevents people from reporting criminal activity is that of retribution. If you have small children at home, you fear for their safety. If you have a newer vehicle, you fear the property damage, the slashed tires and broken windows that all too often go unreported in the local papers. You fear that your house will be robbed when you are at work.

The fact is, the police can be everywhere, all the time. Criminals know this. The fact is that the Cumberland County Courts and the State of New Jersey will continue to refuse to treat violent offenders harshly, and the jails are a revolving door for repeat offenders. Our so-called justice system has no teeth, and the few churches and youth programs making an effort to pull even a few at-risk kids off the streets are undergoing concerted attacks to have their funding slashed by tax-reform groups. These same tax-reform watchdogs are advocating that police officers be laid-off, and that law enforcement funding be significantly reduced.

We are in the middle of a Catch-22. The only way that we can change the course is to stay the course. Make the difficult decisions and choose to be the voice of sanity for your neighborhood. You cannot change the block around the corner, but together, we can make a difference one block at a time.

Join us today

It seems that the Millville neighborhoods are bringing the New year in with a BANG! Criminal activity is erupting throughout the Center City neighborhoods as well as the 3rd Ward. I am hearing reports from South Millville of renewed drug dealing activity on 4th Street and environs.

Gunshots are once again a fact of daily life. And of course, when the police arrive, in good old Sgt Schultz style, everybody "saw nothing".  It is time for concerned citizens to make a concerted effort to fight back.

I urge you to click on the "Join this Site" button on the right, and to contribute. I will be putting more effort in updating the site on a regular basis.

The goal for this year is to point out the addresses of nuisance properties, and post the names and addresses of the absentee landlords that own these houses. When you witness nuisance activity of any nature, call the Millville Police Department Dispatcher (856-825-3111) and give them the address of the problem house. If the address shows up enough times, the owners will be required to stand in front of the City Commission and pay fines.

If you know of illegal rental properties, contact Commissioner Dale Finch at City Hall (856-825-7000) and provide him with the information. The landlords will receive a stiff fine, and the house will get a mandatory health and safety inspection. It is time to make the absentee landlords that have allowed their criminal tenants to destroy our neighborhoods.

If we get enough subscribers to the website, our next step will be to organize neighborhood watches on your block. You have to be willing to take responsibility for your block, nobody else is going to do it for you.

More absentee landlord properties involved in the gun violence

Last night I reported on the gun violence that is escalating near 5th and Mulberry Streets.  State Police, the Sheriff's CSI unit and Millville Police were all on the scene for the better part of the night, and Mulberry Street was block with crime scene tape from 5th Street to midway down the block.

The stray lead hit some of the residences in the area, although to my knowledge nobody was hit. YET.

There are three residential properties involved in an ongoing drug war over turf. I recently listed the name of the slumlord that owns 501 N. 5th Street, an anonymous owner from Lakewood NJ who enjoys their own quiet neighborhood as they profit from blight and urban decay. Hey, as long as they get that government section-8 check, what do they care?

Two other properties are also involved in this battle. 501-503 Mulberry Street, owned by Kenneth Williams, PO Box 1568, Millville, NJ 08332.  The tenants of this property are only peripherally involved in the violence, but neighbors say confidentially that they have trashed the entire inside of the house to the point that it is not fit for occupancy.

The real troublemaker in the recent slate of gun violence is 505 Mulberry Street, another rental owned by  Kevin Ragsdale, 426 N 6th St., Millville, NJ 08332.

The daily shooting spree began about a week ago, and has resulted in incidents every single night - allowing residents a reprieve only for New Years Eve night. So far there are no casualties other than the property values of home owners that live in houses that have been rendered almost valueless due to the inability of the City of Millville to put a stop to the violence.

City Commissioner Dave Vanaman insists that the citizens should not be allowed to defend themselves, and claims that it is the duty of the police department to protect the law-abiding citizens that are stuck in the war zone. But to date, he has been mum, refusing to comment to the media or public.

I know renters that are working families, scared for their children because the City of Millville has failed to take corrective action and put a stop to this gangland dispute.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First drive-by of the New Year

5th and Mulberry, 9PM New year's Day and we have our first drive-by shooting of the New Year. I want to know what the hell our director of public safety is planning to do about this, is he waiting for an innocent bystander to be shot?