What To Do About Drug Use In The Park?

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council focused on an increase in drug dealing and using in and around Victory Heights Park.

Read the complete minutes of the September meeting.

Neighbors have discovered used needles near the co-op preschool building in the park, and suspicious characters loitering in the park at night, and parked along 19th Avenue NE. Calls to the police seem to be responded to too late or not at all. And the city isn’t keen on signs, surveillance cameras or more lights in the park. What can concerned residents do? Well for starters, you should always call 911 when you see something suspicious. The city tracks crime statistics and if we start calling attention to this problem, this will get action in the long run even if the police don’t show up every time you call. There will also be an attempt to get the residents across the park along 19th Avenue to get organized and perhaps put up yard signs of their own saying the neighborhood is watching. If every yard had a sign, that would send a clear message. Crime happens when criminals think nobody cares. And finally, once district elections are over for city council, we will have a representative who we can go to (hopefully backed up with statistics–keep calling 911) and get them to grease the wheels of city government to make sure the park does not fall into ruin and neglect. Together we can make a difference!

The next meeting of the community council will be Tuesday, October 20th. Make a date to attend if you’d like to be part of the solution.

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Community Council Tackles Nuisance Houses

Last night’s meeting of the Victory Heights Community Council had a focus on the recent SWAT team bust of a house on 19th Avenue NE which resulted in the arrest of the occupant for dealing narcotics (heroin specifically). Drug dealers have apparently been targeting empty or abandoned houses in the area in which to do business.

Read the full minutes of last night’s meeting.

Nearby residents have attempted to contact the legal owners, some of whom are local, but others are foreclosures now owned by a bank, in an attempt to deal with this situation, either by maintaining the property and keeping out squatters or selling the houses to buyers who will improve them and revitalize the area. Calls to the city do help, as the squeaky wheel does get oil, so if you see suspicious activity around an empty house, call it in. Meanwhile, work continues behind the scenes with the hope of resolving this situation before long without having to resort to mobilizing neighbors and kicking up a fuss in the media.

Also, be on the lookout for a woman who follows UPS and FedEx delivery vans and then steals packages off of porches. She’s been spotted up on NE 113th Street, as well as stealing out of mailboxes.

In other business, not much has happened with the traffic circle project on 23rd Avenue or the proposals that were submitted to CleanScapes to win funding. The Neighborhood Night Out is still in the planning stage and will be held, like last year, next to Victory Heights Park starting at 6 PM on Tuesday, August 5th as a potluck.

Neighbors are encouraged to attend the Lake City Farmers market each Thursday.

The next meeting will be at Heidi Smeller’s house, 1717 NE 105th Street on Tuesday, July 15th.