The Eastfield Stanbrook Civic Association held its regular meeting at Reverend Ron Wright’s Merrit Park Baptist Church. After the introduction of the Dundalk Police Commander, Captain Orlando Lilly, the first topic of conversation among the citizens was the recent pellet gun attacks in the Dundalk and Esssex (a story first broken by the Post).
Captain Lilly announced that the police had a potential suspect or suspects and were continuing the investigation. Because of the ongoing nature of the matter, no other details were announced.
Captain Lilly made it clear that, without the community’s help in dealing with crime, things would be a lot tougher for the police. He mentioned one particular time when the police radio was very quiet–during the National Night Out. The captain said the number of citizens out on that particular night, along with a strong police presence, kept the criminal at bay.
At least for the one night, anyway.
Captain Lilly was upfront and open with those in attendance and spoke of some new and innovative technology. However, he asked the Post and the Dundalk Eagle not to release the details to the general public.
I was surprised to hear that the Dundalk Precinct leads the county in calls for service, and I was equally surprised to hear that the crime rate had ticked up in the area. Captain Lilly also said that crime stats tend to ride waves of upward and downward trends.
Eastfield Stanbrook President Karen Cruz and her (always there, ready to help) husband Rick brought up some interesting points on the pellet gun attacks.
Rick Cruz was concerned that, even if apprehended, the courts will be too lenient if a suspect is a juvenile. He referred to the general treatment of juveniles as “receiving a slap on the wrist.” On the safety issue related to the attacks, or criminal activity in general, Mrs. Cruz advocated leaving both front and back porch lights on to illuminate one’s property. Captain Lilly addressed both issues by suggesting to Mr. Cruz that, due the large number of attacks, it will be possible to charge the offender when caught; also, if in fact the suspect is a juvenile, that person could be charged as an adult. Captain Lilly also agreed that crime can be deterred by well-lit areas.
One recurring topic that did come up was the rat issue (Dundalk is number one in that category) the captain reminded people to call their councilman. There were some outward groans among those in attendance. Captain Lilly said the rat problem was a code issue and not a police matter.
Captain Lilly stayed for over an hour as the questions from the fairly large audience continued. He was greeted with a large round of applause once finished. (“Elvis has left the building.”)
Afterward, new Community Outreach Officer Chris Briggs took over and revealed the crime report, as well as dispensed some informative information that dealt with another hot topic–abandoned vehicles and parking.
Officer Briggs stated that a commercial vehicle is defined as any vehicle over 10,000 lbs., and–in some cases–this could be waved based on the vehicle’s purpose, such as someone on 24-hour call. Officer Briggs also stated that, in order for a vehicle to be declared abandoned, it has to have at least two flat tires. Finally, vehicles with valid tags can be parked on the street for as long as the stickers are current.
That wrapped up the night’s agenda.
For this journalist, it was a very fruitful meeting.