Feeling unsafe

Dear Editor:Last Saturday morning, I was walking with my son to Dennis the Menace Park and we noticed the presence of graffiti, trash and used condoms at the back entrance of the park that remains open 24/7. We saw graffiti on the sidewalk, on the door signs, on the walls and in the playground area. The used condoms were on the street right in front of our neighbor Carol Self, who lives two houses away from the park. Mrs. Self said that she has lived in Downey since 1971, but in the last couple of years the situation regarding the noise, graffiti, and other illegal activity in the park at night time is getting out of hand. Mrs. Self stated she has to call the police every weekend and she is tired of the situation, but more important, she does not feel safe anymore, not even in her own house. Her family, friends and church are here in Downey and she does not want to move out of the city. She just wants the police and the city to take the steps needed to prevent those kinds of incidents because calling the police dispatcher is not enough and a lot of the times it is too late. I was thinking: isn't north Downey the most expensive and one of the nicest areas of the city? Isn't it here where you can find houses for up to $1 million or $2 million dollars? Realtors and business people can sell the high quality of life to bring more revenue for the city. Then why can we not keep this community safe? Mrs. Self and I are part of the Clancey Neighborhood Watch. We have taken part in the city council and park and recreational meetings. We even had a police officer come to our meeting; and after at least four months the situation is just getting worse. On our way back home, my son and I met Greg Mayfield, who has been living in Downey since 1957 and is a regular at the park. He lives near the pedestrian bridge (close to the park) that links Downey with Pico Rivera. Mr. Mayfield said that very often, particularly on the weekends, there is a group of people hanging out on the bridge. "I don't go out at night. I know those kids are doing more than watching the cars," he told me. Mr. Mayfield said he definitely feels less safe than before, even though he has seen the police patrolling in the area. For the most part, it does not seem that they are proactive; usually they show up after the crime is committed. On top of that, we heard that last week there was a burglary at the shopping center next to the park. We just hope that the next time we call the police, it is not because one of our houses has been broken into. -- Agustin Duran, Downey

********** Published: September 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 24