Thanks to Nancy Greene, a resident of the Highlands who shared this account of the HIghlands Neighborhood Meeting that was held this past Monday. I hope to post similar reports from other neighborhood group meetings. If you’d like to become a contributor, just email me your notes at DickHoweJr@gmail.com and I’ll do the rest. Here’s Nancy’s excellent account:
Nineteen people attended the Highland Neighborhood Meeting held Monday, 10/14, including State Rep. Kevin Murphy, City Councilors Joe Mendonca and Marty Lorrey, and City Council candidate Corey Belanger.
In his update on crime in Highland neighborhoods, Captain McPadden of the Lowell Police Department stressed the need for people to report crime to police. Car breaks in the lower Highlands along the Stevens Street corridor seem to be happening with increased incidence and may be moving north. Tire theft from Honda Civics is a recurring crime in the Wood Street area. House breaks are common in the neighborhoods surrounding UML.
There is a concern that car and house breaks are being underreported, because people who leave their property unlocked and return to find it ransacked, but not necessarily anything missing, are loathe to report out of embarrassment that they left their belongings unlocked. For proper allocation of resources to affected areas, police ask that these crimes of opportunity all be reported – car breaks with nothing missing, house breaks where a door or window may have been left open, even if nothing was taken, police want to know. Compstat is only as good as the data fed into it, so having all the data, reports of all criminal activity, is helpful in crime analysis.
Concern over recent murders was expressed, but Captain McPadden stressed that all violent criminal activity seems to be gang and drug related, specifically marijuana related, and the victims are themselves gang members. Gang retribution is ticking up violent crime numbers, and gang and drug units are working closely to curtail escalation.
Finally, and most importantly, Captain McPadden would like people to report suspicious activity while it’s occurring. “See something? Say something. Think you may be seeing something suspicious but aren’t sure? Say something anyway so police can check it out.”
State Rep. Kevin Murphy is seeking increased funding for public safety in the City of Lowell, specifically to benefit the lower Highlands and the Acre. He expressed concern about possible intermingling of additional public safety grant moneys with the city’s general fund, but Captain McPadden made it a point to assure everyone in the room that all public safety grant money is deposited directly into the Police Department’s account.
Rep. Murphy went on to talk about a $200K development behind the Daley School – new steps, landscaping, basket ball and tennis courts. Court naming to occur Saturday, 10/19, dedication in the spring.
Lu Richards spoke about the program Rebuilding Together Lowell. The program is currently seeking applicants who would like help with repair or renovations to their homes. Lowell is such an excellent city, we currently have more volunteers than applicants, so if you know anyone who needs home repairs, I’ve attached the application forms. Application forms are due in to Rebuilding Together Lowell, PO Box 13, Lowell MA 01853 by October 31st, so please disburse forms quickly to whomever you believe might need help in this area and stress a rapid turnaround as well as a plethora of willing and able bodied volunteers.
Beverly Woods provided an update on the Rourke Bridge. Two out of seven possible configurations have been ruled out as options due to either environmental and traffic impacts or overall cost. While the Rourke Bridge has cost the city $4m in repairs over the last two years, we are still 5-10 years before the beginning of new bridge construction, and cost estimates are provided in year 2038 dollars.