Hi, Everyone! We had a great meeting this evening with Deputy Chief Of Police Sheppard!
It was wonderful seeing so many of our neighbors and local business people in attendance! I hope even more folks will join us at our next meeting! There will be another Special Topic Meeting with Deputy Sheppard on Monday, August 13th at 6:30pm at the Lyell Branch Library. Please come to listen and to be heard!
Most of the meeting was a rousing discussion between the attendees and Deputy Sheppard. LONA thanks him for his dedication to our group, and for spending his valuable time with us this evening!
Deputy Sheppard informed us that the security cameras are still being researched, as we don't want to invest in technology that will be obsolete in just a few short years. We want to invest in cameras that will be able to be integrated into newer and more versatile systems, especially ones that are wireless and capable of being linked to the Internet, as well as being weather-proof, bullet-proof, and be able to turn in 380 degrees. The new tentative date that they will be installed is now set for mid October 2007. We can't wait!
The placement of the cameras will be a very involved process, and Deputy Sheppard assured us that community members' input will be welcomed and valued. There will be many different variables that will be considered, such as the number of calls for service in any given area, as well as the observations by area residents. The security cameras will have the ability to be moved to "hot spots" as the crime patterns change, but Deputy Sheppard anticipates that once a camera is in place, and the level of disturbance/crimes are lowered/eliminated, it will be very difficult to convince the people in the area to give up "their" camera so it can be used elsewhere.
I asked if the City of Rochester could utilize the all-encompassing camera technique, like the one used in London. After watching CNN, I was impressed by their level of efficiency and effectiveness in apprehending the terrorists in the past few weeks. I wondered if the county could use federal homeland security funds to create a similar camera program here. Deputy Sheppard said that in the future, we may emulate a similar program, but it is not in the plans for right now. He said that the idea had been proposed by Mayor Johnson over ten years ago, but many were in opposition, saying that it might violate civil liberties.
Deputy Sheppard has not yet found out about setting up a "Hooker Hotline", but he assured us that he will return in August with that information. LONA residents would like this to be a number where anyone can call in when they spot a prostitute, so that the police can come immediately and arrest them, their pimp, and the "john". Deputy Sheppard also updated us that, as he had promised, there have been, and will continue to be, at least two prostitution details per month. The last one netted over twenty "ladies" and "johns".
He has not yet gotten approval for the cable television public access channel posting of the "johns", but he did give us some suggestions on how to go about publicizing the names and faces in other creative ways. As most of the "johns" are coming from the suburbs and surrounding areas, we in this area of the city hope to shame the customers into finding their vices somewhere closer to their own homes.
We discussed how there is prostitution in all suburbs, and the whole of Monroe County, but it operates differently, by manner of escort services and "call girls". We joked and said how we'd love to have that same level of business conduct here, as no one connects the MainStreet of Pittsford (just used as an example) with the place to pick up prostitutes, like they do with Lyell Avenue. The shame is that the overwhelming majority of our area is as nice as any suburb, but it is very hard to shake that long-standing perception, due to the bad publicity that makes the news, more so than all of the good that goes on in our neighborhood - as in our rebuilding the J.P. Riley Park playground this Saturday!! Hint, hint :)
We discussed the underlying problem of drugs being a factor to why these women are on the streets in the first place. We all agreed that the penalties must be more severe, especially for the recidivistic ones, and that there must be a drug treatment program that helps turn these women around, so that when they are released from jail, they won't fall back into the same lifestyle.
The drug issue is also a problem in the suburbs, but the dealing is handled quietly in homes and by phone arrangements, versus openly on the streets. Also, people buying drugs in the suburbs are often buying in larger quantities than the less affluent users here in the city. Residents expressed frustration that police reports were not automatically generated when we call 911 for help, thereby not adding nuisance points to properties, and not making landlords responsible for the illegal activities happening which are infringing on our quality of life. Drug deals, loud noise/music, and domestic violence continue to plague the area, but it appeared to some attendees, that because our area is less affluent, less action is taken to make the necessary changes to eradicate the problems.
It was decided that we would be creative as we do our part to help combat the problems in our area. LONA will be posting the license plate numbers and vehicle's owner's names on our web site, as well as using digital photography and video cameras to record the "johns" with the prostitutes.
Anyone who has a video camera, or digital camera, will record a video clip, or photo, along with the pertinent information - the where, when, who, and what was observed. They will then post the clip onto the popular YouTube web site. Then, they will send a link to that clip to LONA, and we will post a link to those clips.
We hope that as little Susie is online with her Pittsford Sutherland high school buddies, she will be astonished to see the same car she just borrowed to go to the movies with her friends was used only days before as a way for her loving daddy to solicit a prostitute while her mom though he was just working late, or that he was out with his co-workers/friends for their weekly poker/bowling/whatever night.
Deputy Sheppard even went so far as to promise to purchase a video camera for LONA to help us as we begin our first endeavors into the twenty-first century technology world. I will be looking for video recorder models that are easy to operate, and easy to upload onto the Internet. He will also be able to help us gather information for our license plate listings, so that our posts will be as accurate and complete as possible.
Again, our next meeting will be on Monday,August 13th at 6:30pm at the Lyell Branch Library. We hope you will attend, and bring a neighbor with you! We need as many people joined together as possible to make these important changes happen!
If anyone would like to make a comment to any of our posts, please do so! I also look forward to receiving your email address, so that we can keep you informed as quickly as possible to any and all happenings in our neighborhood.
Thanks for reading, and for supporting your neighborhood association and local Lyell area businesses!
PS - LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS!!! Please send me your business web site so I can link it to our site, as I hope you'll link our site to yours! :)
PS - LYELL AREA RESIDENTS!!! Please send me your photos of your friends and family having fun in the Lyell Avenue area! The general public doesn't know how wonderful our neighborhood really is - and they should!
Please email me your great pictures of your new deck and pool (with your grand kids having fun!), your gorgeous gardens that you tirelessly weed and keep blooming, and any fun event that you attend at our local parks and area spots where friends, food, and fun are happening! Also, label them as to who is in the photo, since I don't know everyone in our neighborhood...yet! :)
Family, friends and fun - is what our area is REALLY all about! Let's show off the good, and it will make the bad perceptions vanish!