Most Bridgeport residents realize that as much as they may love their hometown, crime is an ever present problem and is growing in these lean economic times. And no Park City neighborhood is exempt from that harsh reality.
That fact was in evidence as a group of more than 50 angry Black Rock residents aired their concerns at a recent meeting of the Black Rock Community Council (BRCC) held at the Burroughs Community Center on Fairfield Avenue. A host of police officials were on hand to hear the Black Rockers’ concerns, including Chief Joseph Gaudett and Capt. Brian McCarthy, the new commander of the West End precinct, which patrols the Black Rock, West End and West Side neighborhoods.
BRCC President Phil Blagys welcomed the attendees and noted that “the recent hot spot for criminal activity is basically the section of the neighborhood located between Ellsworth Street, Harbor Avenue and Monroe Street.”
An audience member shouted, “I can tell you Fox Street has been hit quite a few times, too.”
Blagys responded, “We know there has been criminal activity throughout the entire neighborhood. We have to have a strong partnership between the community, politicians and the police. And we have to think of everything at this point.”
Gaudett stressed the importance of communication in helping to reduce crime in Black Rock and throughout the city.
“Inform and communicate; we want to hear from you,” said the chief. “You know my daughter is a big fan of (the TV show) NCIS. It’s on constantly at our house.
But real life isn’t like television. We solve crimes because people tell us what happened.”
Gaudett also pointed out that many common crimes can easily be prevented with a little common sense and preventive action.
“Because of technology, cars are hard to steal these days without keys,” he said. “So don’t leave your keys in your car and don’t leave your car running.”
McCarthy introduced himself to the audience by explaining he grew up just a few blocks away on the corner of Laurel and Hazelwood. He also pointed out that communication with police is essential if crime in the neighborhood is going to be reduced.
“You pay our salary. We work for you. If you let us know about it, we will service the problem,” said McCarthy.
Several audience members argued that their calls to police dispatch have gone unheeded despite calling as many as three times.
“Call me or call Captain McCarthy if that happens,” said the chief. “That should never happen, but if it does, I will address it. We don’t want to be report takers. We want to be problem solvers.”
It was pointed out that the intersection of Fox Street and Canfield Avenue near the multiplex cinema is a staging area for a great deal of criminal activity.
The intersection is near Ash Creek and there are woods and marsh along the creek.
“They can rob you or make a drug deal with that as their base,” said a Fox Street resident. “They can duck into the woods or hide in the marsh and they’re gone.”
Blagys pointed out that the BRCC Block Watch “motor vehicle patrol has been activated,” and neighborhood residents have also established the Harborview Avenue Foot Patrol, which also includes the streets surrounding Harborview Avenue.
The foot patrol is a twice weekly one- hour patrol involving two or more people.
Black Rock residents interested can call Betty at (203) 330-9569 or send e-mail to email@example.com or Jeff Tang at firstname.lastname@example.org.