Salisbury Police Use Environmental Design To Reduce Crime
SALISBURY, Md. - "It's pretty sketchy, sometimes. Definitely down in this neck of the woods," Myles Hillyer says some areas around Camden Avenue and Hazel Street are ones you wouldn't want to be at night.
"Closer to 13, probably don't want to be there after about ten."
Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan says he's right.
"There was a lot of activity here which was simply unacceptable," Duncan said. "We had a lot of drug violations, a lot of assaults with firearms."
Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, they'll use the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design, analyzing certain parts of the area and figuring out what physical improvements are needed to reduce crime.
"It makes a lot of sense to implement it here and spread it out through the rest of the city," Duncan said.
The grant will go toward an area of Salisbury that's bordered by Camden Avenue and Eastern Shore Drive, and Newton Street and South Boulevard. It will focus on things like removing overgrown brush, analyzing which areas need more lighting, and cleaning up trash - including abandoned shopping carts, symbolic to would-be criminals.
Duncan says they are "beacons for criminals to do what ever it is I want at this location because no one cares."
But, some do care, and welcome the help.
"I think it's good," Brad Burk said. "It is a historic district so it does need a little bit of cleaning up."
Removing the criminal element is important. Because of the growing business industry south between Salisbury and Fruitland, and PRMC to the north, police want to make sure areas are revitalized and crime is defused and eradicated, according to Duncan.
"We need to let the criminal element know that hey, there are people here," Duncan said. "[People] need quiet enjoyment and home ownership here in Salisbury."
Residents will have the chance to talk with police to learn more about the program, and learn what to expect from law enforcement as changes and improvements are made.
And, police are using technology to help them share issues and concerns. City of Salisbury has an app that has all of the latest from around town, and can be used to report issues like trash, maintenance and other items that need to be addressed.
"We couldn't have done it alone," Duncan said of the joint work going into improving the city. "We certainly took advantage of the partnership with Mike Lewis and his deputies, Maryland State Police, Fruitland, Delmar, Salisbury University - we all came together to make sure we could make marked progress. And it's bearing fruit already."
Most notably, this was the first time in 10 years there wasn't a homicide in side city limits.
Officials will review additional data in one year to monitor progress and determine what other work will need to be done.
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