I attended the Town Hall meeting last night at the Frankford Group Ministry at Orthodox and Griscom Streets. The meeting started promptly at 7 with the arrival of Captain Bachmayer and Community Relations Officer Krause.
The captain explained that this meeting rotates throughout the 15th district and comes back to Frankford about every 4 months. The community has the opportunity to talk about the crime issues in the neighborhood. the main topic was drugs and the problems that come with them. Several hot spots were discussed and some new ones were brought up to the captain.
He emphasized that these issues are ongoing in nature and even though arrests may be made the problem may not go away. The arrest is only the first part of the process with the District Attorney then prosecuting the suspect and the courst then sending the criminal away.
The most important part of this situation, which most of us understand, is that we need to remove the criminals from our midst. Remove the criminals and the crime problem is much easier to deal with. Several residents pointed out that the criminals on their block are renters and want to know what can be done to have them evicted from the residences that they are using as a base of operation for criminal activities.
The captain replied that when drug activity is linked to a house, the DA can start proceedings to take the house from the owner. This does take time but it certainly should be an incentive for the owner to refrain from renting to these bottom feeders who plague our community. In the case of Section 8 renters, they can lose their Section 8 voucher. It all sounds good so why are we still trying to get rid of these bums.
I was present at a meeting earlier this year where our councilperson (Maria Quinones Sanchez) said that she wanted to take a comprehensive approach to dealing with prisoner reentry, half way houses, rehab houses and drug treatment facilities. Seems like enough time has passed to ask her if that comprehensive approach has taken form yet. So far it does not show.
The community continues to be plagued by these problems and the police at best can play catch up. We need something better. We need leadership.