Submitted by Satinder P S Puri on Thu, 10/22/2020 - 08:13.




On a pleasant Autumn Sunday afternoon of October 11, 2020 – eleven members of the JPCC (Jefferson Park Concerned Citizens) – an 18-year-old neighborhood group, with masks on, met with a Lady Sergeant and two police officers from the First District to discuss recent crime in the area – thefts, burglaries, and a mugging, and other related issues. The meeting lasted nearly 1-hour (3:00 to 4:00 p.m.)

See Slide #1.


THEFTS: The thefts reported pertained to the stealing of packages ordered online and left by delivery people from UPS, FedEx, and others -- generally in the front porch. The thieves (probably kids in the area and others) follow the delivery trucks and then steal the packages.
Some of the thefts were observed by residents along West 133rd adjoining the park.



See Slide #2 for Empty Box from K SWISS Online Shoe Shop (probably stolen and contents removed) as seen in a garbage container on Oct. 7.





See Slide #3 for Box and Item (Media Receiver) (probably stolen) as seen on Oct. 12 after the meeting.





The First District is aware of thefts of this type and advised the audience to request that the packages be left in the rear porch.



BURGLARIES: Two events in the same house (on Cooley Avenue, south side of the park) were discussed at the meeting. In the first case – the screen door latch was broken and the dead bolt was off. The burglar was able to open the lock at night (March 7) but could not get in because cardboard sheets used to insulate the door perimeter fell down and prevented the door from opening. The outside lights were off. Nothing was stolen.
In the second case, the burglar got in during broad daylight via the open rear porch door while the resident was working in the garage. He got out from the window from the second floor on to the front sun-porch roof, and then slid down a tree trunk. One of his socks got stuck in a branch and continues to blow in the wind. The burglar never came back to retrieve his sock. Again, nothing was stolen. In both cases, reports were made to the First District.
The resident reports that now doors are kept locked at all times and front porch and side-driveway lights are left on at night.
MUGGING: A senior citizen (a 20-year resident of the area) and a regular user of the park (tennis and walking) was mugged on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 3 around 9:00 p.m. Two big black kids (14-16 years old) wearing masks (both taller than the resident who is 5ft. 4 in.) came to the north-western tennis court (adjoining West 133rd Street) and demanded to play tennis.
When the resident said it was not safe because of the pandemic – one of the kids removed his mask and started coughing at him. The resident moved away but the coughing continued. The same kid then made an attempt to steal the tennis racquet which the resident resisted.
The resident shouted: Help! Help! Police! Police! – and the kids moved away.
The resident picked up his belongings (left the 9 tennis balls behind – one for each of the 9 planets – when hitting a ball – the resident felt he was sending it in a trajectory around Planet Earth) and hastily went to the exit along West 133rd Street.
The kids followed him and snatched his turban and three underlying caps and a muffler and ran towards the eastern court exit.
See Slide #4.




The resident decided to go home and call the police. He does not carry a cell phone – not good at using one either.
As he was walking down West 133rd Street – he noticed that the kids, hiding behind trees, were following him. The resident then hurried to a nearby house – knocked on the door – explained what happened – the neighbors were very nice and called 911. The resident spoke to the dispatcher and gave all the details.
Two police officers came with 20-minutes. They helped retrieve the turban, caps, muffler – all of which were stolen – and the tennis balls which were left behind. A case of robbery was registered. The resident thanked the officers and went home. He was advised not to use the park at night.
The resident has since changed his habits – and uses the park (2-hours every day) – during day time – preferably in the morning. The resident considers himself lucky – he was not beaten up or otherwise harmed. A police detective is examining the security camera recordings.
DISORDERLY KIDS: Complaints were made of kids who use the park and are generally noisy, rude, and intimidating -- discouraging use of the park by others. They congregate in and around the gazebo – with or without bicycles.
While the meeting was in progress – about half-dozen kids and adults were sitting on the benches under the trees south of the gazebo. An altercation took place between four of them – there were loud verbal exchanges. The police officers had to intervene to calm the situation.
A few years ago – a teaching program – “Teaching Young Scientists in Cleveland’s Parks” was started, It was very popular – was taught in many parks all over Cleveland. The program was finally abandoned after sustained harassment by some kids – despite intervention from the police and presence of adult members of the community. The younger kids and their parents had a lot of fun. The program was taught by a retired Structural Engineer.
See Slide #5.



ADDITIONAL LIGHTING: The residents agreed upon the need for more lighting. The south lawn needs lights in corners where there are security cameras.
SECURITY CAMERAS. The park is covered with security cameras. The efficacy of the security cameras will be judged after the investigation into the mugging of Oct. 3 is complete. The security cameras in the north end of the courts should have picked up the mugging and the security camera on West 132nd Street in front of the basketball courts should have picked up the discarding of head gear. The security camera in the gazebo area should have picked up the two kids when they were following the resident walking down 133rd Street.
JPCC MEETINGS: Before the pandemic – members used to meet regularly on the third Monday of every month to discuss issues of interest to the residents. The meetings were held in the basement of Slone & Co., Funeral Directors @ the corner of Lorain Avenue & West 132nd Street. Refreshments were always served. The annual Christmas party with raffled prizes was a always a big draw.
When meetings resume – let us all hope it is soon – advance notices will be posted.


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