MINUTES OF THE PAC2 MEETING
DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS STAFF DEVELOPMENT CENTER
November 14, 2011
Facilitator: Cheryl Shiflett – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Kneepkens – nKneep@earthlink.net
The meeting began at 6:00 p.m. with “Meet and Greet” and was called to order at 6:16 p.m.
Beth Gestner of Forest Road said that there had been a lot of burglaries in her area and on the other side of Broad St. and on Hillcrest Dr. She was also concerned about the recent shootings linked to the apartments at 1710 Hillcrest, and wanted to know what was being done. Captain Sykes said there had been a cluster around the School of Science and Math on Sunset and Maryland, and they had recently arrested an individual. He thought there was also a problem with people from America’s Best Quality Inn (formerly Carolina Duke) cutting through the park. He noted that an arrest had been made on one of the shootings which had taken place which was a result of someone randomly shooting in the air.
Carmen from Summer Meadows was curious about information presented by Mr. Schiess on the RAP program. She said there had been lots of break-ins there and no one has knocked on her door. She had called police about a young guy knocking on doors early in the morning in her neighborhood, and wanted to know what the time frame is for police to come. She had called once, then called again when there was no response. She said that once an officer came she had tried to tell him where the person had gone and the officer was rude and wanted to know why she was talking to him, since she had asked to be anonymous. Another time she had been walking through the neighborhood and noticed someone’s house had be broken into; this time it took nearly an hour for police to respond. Captain Sykes said the average response time is six minutes, but she can call him or come see him at the station if she has a particular concern, rather than waiting until later to address it at a PAC meeting.
Another person had questions about a burglary on Dartmouth a couple of weeks ago. There is someone living in a shed on Sage St., and she wanted to know if there was a correlation. Captain Sykes didn’t know but said they have possibly found some of the property which had been pawned, so hopefully they would be able to make an arrest in that case. Another person reported an individual walking down the street in the rain in a hoodie and dark glasses the week before the robbery. When she told the police officer responding to the break-in he had commented that “they would never put those two together.” He had also said when he arrived that he was going off duty so someone else would take the case. Captain Sykes asked her to call him if they have an officer that is unprofessional. There was also a report of copper taken from a house twice nearby.
A resident noted that a week ago that Monday there was a lot of police activity on Chalk Level Road and wanted to know what had happened. Captain Sykes said he could find out if they contacted him with the time frame.
Peter Katz said that last night he had caught a person trying to walk up a neighbor’s driveway. He confronted him, since there had been a lot of car burglaries recently. The person was wearing a light gray hoodie.
David Harris said that Saturday afternoon around 4:00 p.m. there was a fire at the rear of the Riverview Shopping Center, and that the police and fire department responded within 2 minutes.
A block captain who was concerned about her neighborhood wanted to talk to someone from COP after the meeting about patrolling her area.
Someone mentioned that there were still people washing cars in the Target parking lot, and Bill Anderson said that the property manager had gotten so tired to trying to run them off that she rented 5-6 spaces to them, so he suggested they contact the property management to voice their displeasure.
Durham Parks and Recreation: Cheryl thanked Parks and Recreation for providing space for our meeting last month. Audrey Gill talked about the upcoming Holiday Fun Fest on December 3rd from 2-6 p.m. at Durham Central Park. There will be snow sledding, a petting zoo, mini parade, campfire and lots of music. The annual senior holiday party for persons 55 and older is also coming up on Tuesday, December 13th from 4-7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel and tickets were $15 for city residents and were still available. There was also a senior trip to Tanglewood on November 29th. Recreation centers would close for the Thanksgiving holiday at 6 p.m. on November 23rd, be closed November 24th and 25th, and reopen on Saturday. Jenny Smith from Edison Johnson announced that there will be a water safety instructor course at Edison Johnson on December 22, 27-30 and a Guard Start program (junior lifeguard course) December 27-30 at Campus Hills for ages 11-14. The last teen night for the year will be December 9th from 7-10 p.m.
A representative of the DPD warrant squad said that Bill Anderson talked to her about putting the wanted sheet on the PAC listserv, and she is now doing that. The wanted sheet was originally meant to be emailed out. It comes out every other Monday, and you can get it directly by emailing the warrant squad. The goal is to have people display the poster at their business. Cheryl suggested also putting it on your car’s dashboard.
City councilman Mike Woodard announced that the city is most likely going to take Hillandale golf course from Suntrust and maintain it as a golf course. There was to be a meeting the following night at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church where more details could be obtained about the transfer of the property, and how it would be managed and maintained. Mr. Kimble, the golf pro under the previous management, has set up a management company and the deal would include him managing the course for the next five years. David Harris commented that golf courses in general are currently losing money and wanted to know how Durham can justify taking the golfcourse if it will require that money be put into it. Mr. Woodard said the city will not put money into it; the management company will do all of the maintenance and all of the capital investment. He said the city had a consultant look at the golf course in the late spring/early summer, and based on his analysis Hillandale started losing money when they separated the course operations from the pro shop and snack bar operations. These have to be kept together with the golf course for it to not lose money, and Mr. Kimble believes that he can do that and run it profitably. Someone wanted to know if they will consider widening Hillandale now, and Mr. Woodard said that wasn’t likely to happen at least for the next 30 years, as this is a state road and it is not in the state budget. There is also not enough traffic at nonpeak times to justify widening it. Bill said he had found in an ancient archive that the golf course was originally built to keep the inner city youth occupied. He also wanted to know if the manager would keep any profit made, and the answer was yes, but he will also make capital improvements. He wants to make a reasonable profit so that he can pay the staff and keep the course running, and also have funds for the capital investments needed for the course.
Honor Gifford spoke about the email she sent yesterday. She and Officer Hall had been in contact with Victims Services about the children involved in the drive-by shooting on Driver St., and they would like to do something for the family for Christmas, possibly bring them Christmas dinner the week before Christmas and bring some gifts for the children. She wanted to know if this was something PAC2 would be interested in doing, to show the family that the community cares about this issue. Mike Shiflett offered her money, and it was decided that people can give money or donate baked goods or presents. Cheryl wanted to know about suggestions for gifts for the kids, and Honor thought we could find out from Victims’ Services about that. Bill suggested we have that available before or by the December meeting, and maybe bring stuff then.
Nancy brought up the speed trailer, and Officer Hall gave an update. The company which made it no longer exists, there are no more parts available for it, and the trailer is now gone. He is looking at different ones that the radio shop can work on, and they range from $7000 to $10,000. They found someone who could retrofit a new sign in the old trailer, but that would cost $4500 so was not really an option. He said he would talk to Mr. Boyd at fleet maintenance to see if they would help us buy another one (the original one cost $1200). One thing that makes it so expensive is that everything is extra, including tires and a solar panel, which you need. Cheryl said we needed to talk about it next month.
Cheryl said they were trying to get Safe Skills to come in February for a workshop to give a presentation on how attacks happen, when to resist, and demonstrate simple defense skills and a mindsetting exercise.
Jason Schiess, Durham Police Department, Manager of the Analytical Services Division, Crime Analysis Supervisor, spoke about the Residential Awareness Program (RAP). This is a strategy to reduce residential burglaries in Durham. Burglary is a property crime. It is considered by the FBI to be a part 1 index crime (category for the most serious offenses), defined as “to enter or remain in a structure without permission with the intent to commit a felony or theft”, whereas robbery is taking property from a person by force. Burglary does not usually involve force; the burglar would just as soon not encounter the resident. Burglary is the only part 1 index crime which went up in the last 2 years (the others went down). There were 3,687 burglaries reported in 2010. Most (85%) were residential, and the same percentage used forced entry. A forced door was the most frequent, with a window forced open or glass broken second. Weekdays, during daytime hours, were the most frequent times.
Analysis of data for 2010 showed a repeat victimization pattern, with the risk of another incident at the same house within 7 days being 127% greater than if no pattern was found. A near-repeat victim pattern was also found, with the chance of another incident within 400 feet during the next 7 days being 94% greater. The department determined that it needed to put resources in this area within this timeframe. On Monday they measure the current activity for the previous 14-day period, and if they identify 2 within 400 feet that indicates the highest likelihood of more occurring. These areas are where they want to put resources and partner with the community.
Burglaries have a very low clearance rate (about 15% nationally). If they don’t catch the individual in the act they are not likely to catch him later on, so it is very important to put resources in place to either catch him or deter him from subsequent crimes. The crime prevention unit is the first to respond, and will go to the areas which have the highest priority on the list and work their way down depending on available time. They usually go out on Tuesdays and try to contact every resident within an additional 400 feet of the two burglaries, to inform residents of the burglaries and of the increased risk and provide residents with information on target hardening measures. The goal is to make residents in the area aware of the risk and what they can do to look for suspicious individuals. It is important for police to know as much information as possible about suspicious activity/individuals and their mode of operation, such as whether they are working in yards, what time of day they are in the area, how they are breaking in, etc. Suspicious activity includes unusual cars going up and down the block, individuals that may be pulling a trash can down the street, and individuals who may be coming to the door posing as solicitors but without any identification are all things they want to know about. The traffic unit then goes into some of these areas and does some high-visibility traffic enforcement during the time of day when the burglaries are occurring, letting the burglars see them there, and in some cases catching them this way. There is national research which shows a correlation between traffic crashes and high concentration crime locations.
Community members are in the best position to prevent more burglaries. They should notify police of suspicious persons, implement crime prevention tips, request an ID/permit from solicitors, and record tags and descriptions of suspicious cars. The pilot of the program has been running for about 2 months currently, with some success but no statistics yet. In the next couple of weeks they may begin using the code red system to notify residents in a risk area. Unfortunately the crime prevention units can’t get to all of the locations each week, only having time to go to between 4 and 10. They have seen progressively lower counts of burglary since the program has been put in place, but are not sure yet if this is seasonal or due to the program.
Mr. Schiess then asked if there were any questions. Someone wanted to know the nonemergency number; it is 560-4600. Another resident said a man with a spray bottle came to her house and wanted to come in and spray her carpet. When she asked if he had a permit he walked off. A neighbor said it was a Kirby sales person, but the individual wouldn’t show an ID or permit and left. She was told to call the nonemergency number or even 911. It was noted that people on community listservs can also post information to let their neighbors know about the concern. It was reiterated that 911 should be called for something that is happening right now, and the nonemergency number for things not happening now, when the individual is gone already.
Leisha Johnson from the Riddle Park area off Old Oxford highway wanted to know if the program was currently in effect, and was told that it had been for about 2 months. She said that Denver Avenue has experienced 2 break-ins, where the person comes to the door, watches people leave then comes in through the window. She wanted to let her neighbors know, and wanted to know under what circumstances this program would be used. The answer was when there were 2 incidents within 400 feet and 2 weeks of each other. The resident said her location qualified, and that the person was seen walking down the street with the loot. Mr. Schiess said that there were between 4 and 10 of those incidents per week, so crime prevention can’t get to all of them. The automated program looks at burglaries over the last 28 days and generates a report on trends/clusters which go to the district captain. They want to put patrols out in locations which give them the best chance of catching criminals. RAIDS Online will also let people sign up for notification of crimes within a certain area, so they can also provide information that way. Peter Katz reminded the group that Jim Soukup said a suspicious person was a 911 call. He said they are also currently using RAIDS online notification in his neighborhood. Mr. Schiess can be reached email@example.com. Bill said you should call 911 if you can’t recall the other number.
Jay Reinstein then spoke about the strategic plan. A strategic plan is a roadmap intended to tell you where you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. It helps the city council set priorities and helps with allocation of resources. The strategic plan was adopted by the city council in April, and the Performance Management System Dashboard indicates how they’re doing on the measures and initiatives. This is a partnership with citizens. Over a 4-5 month period they met with a citizen committee. In the last 3-4 months they have received kudos for the site, and have been contacted by other cities, both in the US and elsewhere.
There are 5 goals in the plan: a strong and diverse economy, safe and secure community, thriving, livable neighborhoods, a well-managed city, and stewardship of the city’s physical assets. The site is ADA compliant. He then spoke about the Safe and Secure Community goal, and the outcome measures, objectives and intermediate measures, initiatives and tasks. Data is published twice a year. They tried to make the site as user-friendly as possible. When there is an asterisk, the city has some influence over the data, but not totally. There are also YouTube videos on how to navigate through the site. Mr. Reinstein then asked if there were questions. Someone asked that he meant by “published”, and he said it means data is updated every 6 months. The “Durham’s Got It” logo on the city sites takes you to the performance management system. Someone else wanted to know if info was archived when new data was posted, and he said that it wasn’t yet.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.