Crime up, Kent neighborhood considers watch

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

A string of incidents requiring police response on Dodge Street in Kent is spurring nearby residents to reestablish a neighborhood watch and find resources to keep kids from straying down the wrong path.

Kent police have been called to Dodge Street, located in Kent's South End off of Franklin Avenue, 22 times since May 1 this year for a range of complaints that include disorderly conduct, noise, burglary and use of force, according to Lt. Jim Prusha, public information officer for Kent police. Police also have been called 13 times to Elm Street, one street north, and 10 times to Harris Street, one street south.

In the same time frame, four arrests were made on Dodge Street, two for domestic violence, one for obstructing official business and one for possession of drug paraphernalia, Prusha said.

"As far as summer calls, there's definitely been an increase in this area," Prusha said. "It's higher than it has been in the past."

In response to the uptick in bad activity, neighborhood resident Doria Daniels has organized a community meeting at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Union Baptist Church, 240 Dodge St. Representatives from the Kent police and Ward 3 Councilman Wayne Wilson will be present.

"Twenty years ago we had a problem like this and we worked with (then-police Chief William) Lillich. They had a foot patrol and got things settled down," said Daniels, an at-large candidate for Kent City Council. "Well, now this mess is starting to creep up again, and so we're working to get it changed."

Daniels said that while a neighborhood watch existed years ago, it has since evaporated and needs to be reactivated.

"Now, we've got to get formally involved again," she said, adding she will facilitate Saturday's meeting and hopes to inspire those who attend to participate.

Most of the incidents on Dodge Street, which primarily are occurring in the 300 block, seem to result from youngsters not having a positive outlet, Daniels said, adding that objectives of Saturday's meeting include finding positive avenues for teenagers, including possible employment opportunities.

Prusha said the police have already stepped up their presence in the neighborhood by assigning extra patrols to the area, and will attend the meeting.

"We're going to have some officers there, probably more to listen than to talk," he said. "We want to hear what their problems are and communicate back to them how we can or cannot help."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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  • @sjeffers There is nothing racist about my comment. Find out some information from the Kent police department as to where the most arrests are made and where the most calls for police assistance are made. Then you will see where the problem neighborhoods are. Then look up the information about those particular neighborhoods; demographics, mean income, single family, etc. My honest question was based on facts and statistics. I'm also curious to know how many times the police are called to the River Bend community and Twin Lakes, and Sugarbush Knolls. And how many blacks reside in those neighborhoods as compared to whites. Let me know if you find that information.

  • Nice to see a neighborhood pulling together to try and better their area. I hope they have a HUGE turnout. Seems like a small enough area that they could find out who the troublemakers are and document it.... take pics with cell phones or whatever they have to do. It would be easy to say since school let out kids are bored, but the increase in crime started in May. It is the parents job to help their kids find appropriate outlets and not get bored. The library is free. walking around the neighborhood cleaning up trash with a bag is free. take a walk, ride your bike, mow a neighbors yard. Smoking and selling weed aint free. Oh, and wake up time aint when the sun goes down. Good luck with your meeting Ms. Daniels!

  • Nice to see a neighborhood pulling together to try and better their area. I hope they have a HUGE turnout. Seems like a small enough area that they could find out who the troublemakers are and document it.... take pics with cell phones or whatever they have to do. It would be easy to say since school let out kids are bored, but the increase in crime started in May. It is the parents job to help their kids find appropriate outlets and not get bored. The library is free. walking around the neighborhood cleaning up trash with a bag is free. take a walk, ride your bike, mow a neighbors yard. Smoking and selling weed aint free. Oh, and wake up time aint when the sun goes down. Good luck with your meeting Ms. Daniels!

  • I would say that something needs to be done here. I never hardly see the police checking up on things. Its very easy to spot the drug dealers there.

  • i drive by the rec center twice sometimes three times a day...even on school days you see schoolage kids there... getting a new police station should not took centerstage over what other problems there may be in the city.

  • and why is it, when reading record courier comments, you are most likely going to find a racist comment? just curious. as the town is more gentrified, pooh, the city will shift its focus even more to the "better part of town" - until of course they decide to mow down the housing there for condos. it is rather disgusting that 12 million dollars is allocated to build a 1/4 mile of sidewalk to clear a path for people to walk from campus to the middle class playground and luxury hotel and apts, but the existing infrastructure outside of the playground hasn't been attended to for quite some time.

  • The South end Of Kent has been ignored by the City Officials for a long time. Just look at the roads in our area and the blighted housing. I guess our end of town isn't close enough to KSU for our "Ruller" to pay any attention to. It seems to me as a lifelong Southender that these problems with young people in the area all come from a central location, the recreation center on Franklin Avenue. That seems to be the meeting point and maybe should be the focal point for the police to investigate.

  • the incidents are in the 300 block? i know what oliver in brimfield would do....make some 'friendly' visits every so often....problem solved....

  • You ever notice how most of the crimes in Kent are committed in the predominantly black neighborhoods, such as silver meadows and south of rt. 59 west of rt 43? Why is that. I'm just curious. On another note, somewhat related to this subject. Let's talk new police station funding. I'm a citizen that has never been arrested, never even had a traffic citation. Why should my taxes go up or my services cut so criminals can have a nice place to stay? Make the criminals and prisoners work to pay for the police station. If everyone was like me, then there would be no need for a police station at all. Not everyone is like me. There are a lot of criminals and the good citizens, as usual, get screwed. I'm sick of this crap and, as Chief Oliver would say, I'm sick of mopes!!!