Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hume Springs Clean-Up and Community Police Team-Up

First off, many thanks to everyone that came out and helped during the Hume Springs clean-up last Saturday.  That list includes Fire Marshall Javelle and our local Community Oriented Police Officers (Officers Nick Ruggiero and Matt Kramarik).  Last but not least, a big thank you to our local Sheriff's Department.  On Friday, the Sheriff's Department brought out an inmate work-crew to give residents a huge jump start to the clean-up by sweeping through the alleys with trash bags and week whackers in tow.  Getting the alleys out of the way enabled everyone to get even more done during the Saturday clean-up.

Down at the end of Hume Springs Stream (let's see if that sticks), in an unrelated event, several teams were cleaning up Four Mile Run.  Meanwhile, as part of the Hume Springs clean-up, volunteers did a healthy one-over on neighborhood streets, parks, and the wetlands area that backs up to Cora Kelly Elementary School.

It was during a trash sweep of the wetlands area that the volunteers identified a major drinking and drug-use hideout back in the woods.  The following pictures show the state of things after numerous trash bags full of bottles had already been hauled away:


The area is one of few dry spots of land back in the wetlands--a small clearing with plenty of logs to sit on.  Volunteers found general trash, alcohol bottles, a prisoner id, and what appeared to be some drug use paraphernalia.

Problem Hang Out is located near the center of these trees: View Larger Map

This new drinking hangout appeared to be a case of "displacement", as Officer Ruggiero pointed out.  Last fall, a Hume Springs clean-up uncovered a less hidden drinking spot that became a target for daily police sweeps, resulting in numerous arrests and getting people in need of social services in touch with those agencies (that story here).  Sadly, it appears people looking for a place to drink in our neighborhood found another, more hidden place to break the law.

Not for long, if current progress is an indicator or future results.  On Monday, officers swept this new location and made 4 arrests in the middle of the day for drinking in public.  From now on, this whole area will become a regular "beat check" for local officers, with the help of our Community Oriented Police.  Furthermore, the Community Officers intend to work with the Parks Department to get the logs cut up and removed, and intend to post No Trespassing signs around the wetlands area so they can enforce the trespassing rules, as well.  This is another testament to the importance of community policing.  Area assaults and robberies often start with public drinking, and nipping these problems in the bud make Arlandria a safer place for everyone.

Team hoists a sleeper sofa pulled out of the stream
On the day, neighbors were able to remove downed limbs, 20+ bags of trash, a sleeper sofa, a mattress, and large amounts of other loose debris from Four Mile Run Park and Hume Spings before lunchtime.  The Hume Springs Citizens Association also provided numerous flats of annuals and gave them away to any neighbors looking to spruce up their yard.  New neighbors and long-time residents teamed up to make the day a big success.  The hangout discovered on Saturday will hopefully lead to continued success cleaning up more than just a trash problem in the days and weeks to follow.
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