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West End Association

Association Meeting Minutes

November 4, 2003

 

The association meeting began at 7:07 pm at the Tise House.

 

Board Members in Attendance: George Bryan, Ann Doherty, Bud & Barbara Goldsmith, Dave & Marilyn Poorbaugh, Amy Lindsey, David Poythress, Steve Joiner.

 

Announcements: George Bryan welcomed visitors.

 

Minutes:  Minutes were presented by Amy Lindsey on behalf of Lee Ann Manning.  No corrections were noted and minutes were unanimously approved.

 

Treasurer’s Report:  Steve Joiner reported the books are a clean slate because they were closed and re-opened recently to allow newcomers to join until year end without having to renew for 2004.  We have 15 new memberships so far which came from ARTSfest. 

 

George Bryan noted that the membership drive and strategy will be discussed at the next Board meeting.

 

Special Crime Report: Captain Belton & Lt. Cobb of the Winston-Salem Police Department reported on the recent rash of theft in the neighborhood and discussed crime prevention and safety.  A paraphrase/summary of the report follows.

 

Capt. Belton reported that since the board meeting a lot has happened in terms of arrests.  He then turned the presentation over to Lt. Kobb.  Lt. Kobb presented basic info on crime statistics and prevention.  He said that the West End is a very diverse neighborhood in terms of uses and types of people.  In order for a crime to be committed there must be opportunity, motive, and an individual.  Partnerships are important – community groups, city services such as inspections, zoning, etc. and law enforcement have responsibilities in preventing crime.  Recent crime statistics in West Highland and Buena Vista areas are comparable to those of the West End.  Patrols have been beefed up recently.  One of the most frequent problems has been unlocked car doors.  Auto break-ins are up all over.  Police have a hard time protecting property if its unlocked.  If someone is opening an unlocked car, that byself is not suspicious, whereas if someone is breaking a window that is obvious.  The most frequent method of break in for house burglary was without force.  They’re trying windows first, then the front door, then the back door.  Wednesday, then Tuesday are the most frequent days for break-ins, most commonly during daylight hours.  The biggest types of store break-ins are “crash-ins” through windows.  For auto break-ins a door is the most common entry point, then a window.  Don’t leave valuables in your car in sight.  In western downtown area (includes Crystal Towers area, Westdale, etc.) there have been 2927 calls for service to the police from May 1 – Nov 3.  This is large, but includes businesses, etc.  Of these 107 were house break-ins and 123 were store break-ins.  The community is encouraged to call in reports of prowlers/suspicious persons. There have been 204 reports during this same period for that.  If you come home to an open door, call 911 to let them know there may be someone inside.  Don’t go in by yourself…  It could be dangerous.  Police will be employing a variety of strategies in the near future to catch some culprits that may not have already been caught.  They will be putting decoy vehicles with bait valuables in the West End and will be using undercovers.

 

Tips:  Thieves carry extra shirts with them to wipe prints and switch clothes to avoid detection.  Be alert for that.  Crow bars make a loud noise that sounds almost like a gun.  Be alert for sounds like that.  If you call the police and the dispatcher doesn’t want to send somebody out at that time, ask for a police supervisor.  Keep track of the serial numbers for your valuable property.

 

Question & Answer Session:

 

Question: How much of the crime in the West End do you think is coming from Westdale?

Response: That’s a hard question to answer.  Some fights, drugs, yes…probably not so much the auto break-ins.  Green and Watkins near Broad is an open drug area.  Drugs tend to breed problems with robbery, prostitution, fencing property, etc.

 

Question: What can be done about outdoor & porch furniture that is being sold by thieves to consignment/antique stores.

Response:  Use white out or something to identify yourself on bottom of furniture.

 

Question:  What is the responsibility of store owners to id folks when bringing in items for consignment?

Response: (No comment about legal liability).  The WSPD will send a foot patrol to familiarize the police with the store owners and communicate with them about getting tags, ids, etc.

                               

Question: When caught, do the criminals get caught in a revolving door, or are they put away?

Response: Depends…if convicted they often get probation first, which allows for searches for any reason and are easier to pursue if suspected…There are some mandatory minimums making a difference now.

 

Question: Any description that we should be aware of?  Any ideas on who’s responsible for recent rash?

Response: The WSPD has arrested the suspect on a bicycle last week.  That may solve a lot of the recent cases.

 

Explanation of codes used in police dispatching:

Code 1: anything life threatening, blue light, siren, etc.

Code 2: in progress but no immediate threat to life, can be delayed up to 10 minutes, stays within beat probably

Code 3: cooler lead (ex. Been on vacation for 1 week and just realized bike is missing).

Code 4: telephone contact only

Code 1 is clear but codes 2 & 3 can be confusing.

 

Presentation from Vicki GilChrist (Mgr of Gladstone Apts.):  Gladstone has hired some security folks and has some police undercovers working the property.  GilChrist would like to have an open house so neighbors can meet tenants.  As far as women coming in, all of the health care providers are female.  They often are not in health uniforms.  They come in as early as 6 am and leave as late as 2 am.  While there may be a bad apple in the bunch, the managment and the police are working to clear that up.  They must follow procedures so as not to violate HUD procedures.  If police catch a drug deal, then a tenant can be evicted immediately.  GilChrist’s regular office hours are Tuesdays from 8 – 1 and Thursdays from 12 – 5:30.  She is on call 24/7.  Sometimes she makes surprise visits.  She has addressed the loud music with the tenants recently.  Some WEA attendees noted that generally the Gladstone is an asset.

 

Other Issues:  934 W. Fifth Street is slated for demolition.  A vote is scheduled for the next council meeting.  Wanda Merschel is intervening to try to get repairs started and avoid demolition.  There was no discussion of upcoming HRC agenda items.  George Bryan announced the next social will be at his home on Friday, November 14th.  Also there are T-shirts leftover from ARTSfest.  Contact Kathleen Ramich if you are interested in an ARTSfest shirt.  Welcome baskets coming along well.

 

Linda Kirby needs help selling ads for newsletter, particularly between now and end of December.  It involves talking to existing advertisers about renewing, (most do) and then filling vacancies with new advertisers from the waiting list.  Only about 60 contacts are involved.  The work would be split with Linda.  George will send out an email about this.

 

There was a comment from Lisa Elam regarding the increasing membership of the YM that perhaps the WEA needs to be proactive in dialoguing with the YM regarding rezoning the vacant lots.  The Board will discuss this item in more detail at a future Board meeting.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:52.\pm.

Submitted by Amy Lindsey, acting for secretary Lee Ann Manning.