With this issue of the Raytown Report we are inaugurating a new service for our readers in Raytown. We call it our "Fix This Eyesore NOW!" or, more simply stated our "FTE Column". In this column we will post any complaint from our readers that we believe may be a violation of the city’s code of ordinances. We will also see to it that your elected officials on the Board of Aldermen and Mayor David Bower are made aware of the complaint.
Keep in mind that we are only passing the information on. The final decision to resolution of the problem is left up to the powers that be at Raytown City Hall.
We are starting off the list with a location that has been posted on Raytown Report four times in the last week. We’ve also decided to take a page from our recent American history (remember the Iranian Hostage Crisis during the Jimmy Carter presidency?) and date the complaint by the number of days the city has been aware of the problem from its original posting on this page. So, without any further ado, we officially launch our FTE Column!
DAY 1 - 67TH and BLUE RIDGE CUTOFF: BP Gasoline station located between Commerce Bank and 67th Street (on the south side of 67th Street).
The picture speaks for itself.
The grating over the storm drainage cut has been missing for over one year. A copy of this page has been forwarded to Ward 1 Aldermen Joe Creamer, Shane Pardue, and Mayor David Bower.
1 The Sign War Rages On Richard Tush Contributing Editor
The city election cycle has been over for nearly two months. However, the signs on the right away just will not go away. Travel any of the main streets and it won’t take long to find one of these violations. The amazing thing is the city was so eager to pass an ordinance against this practice, but is less then interested in enforcing it.
The latest invasion of these advertisement signs is to "Increase Your Credit Score", but we are all too familiar with their counter parts "We Buy Ugly Homes" or "Raytown Singles.com" just to name a few.
We can only hope city hall learns that with each tax increase we will expect better service across all departments.
Another point of view on Public Safety Justin Tomac Contributing Editor
When you bring up the subject of Public Safety many different points of view emerge. Take the last election. The point of view the City of Raytown took was the passage of the Public Safety Tax. It is not my intent to rehash the election results. I would like to discuss the premise of the marketing campaign and an alternate point of view that will hopefully resonate with those who read this blog.
The whole premise, or what we were led to believe, is that Raytown is seriously under resourced to effectively battle the increasing crime wave. Facts and Data were presented to help bolster this point of view. On the surface these facts and data were fairly plausible. When one begins to examine these facts and data from a different point of view, things emerge that may have lent themselves to a different outcome. Prior to the election the City of Raytown Website (http://www.raytown.mo.us/) provided a powerpoint attempting to show the need for additional public safety help.
As one who reviewed this powerpoint, a few things came up that caught my eye. One was the call volume, again attempting to show the need, which showed that between the hours of 5 p.m and 10 p.m. a peak of activity occurred. As a person who creates and analyzes data on a professional and daily basis, this gained some interest to me.
Most would just say, "look here it is", my question is what was happening at these times (as opposed to any other part of the day) and why would it peak during these times? Having worked in similar type of industries before I can surmise. People tend to come home from working all day at these times. Very similar to the Emergency Departments at Hospitals, they put off all day what they thought would go away on its own, or they came home an realized something was amiss. Another plausible explanation was they came home after a bad day at work and decided today was the day something was to happen.
What is interesting is the time of shift change at the police department typically occurs during these hours. As I mentioned the vote came back to hire more Public Safety officers and my intent is not to re-live this vote, but to hopefully stimulate residents to think differently when shown the "Facts & Data".
Since Raytown is now hiring more Public Safety officers, my hope is they can improve upon the less then 2 minute response time they have proven in the past. One way to help lessen the 5-10 p.m. rush and possibly ‘lighten’ the load of the department is for neighborhoods to implement a Neighborhood Awareness and Watch Group. This is a fairly inexpensive way for a neighborhood to help improve Public Safety. Before the naysayers jump in and say these groups are ‘replacing’ the servants in Blue, let me clarify my point of view of what a Neighborhood Watch or Awareness group is.
An Awareness or Watch group is simply put the residents of the Neighborhood banding together to insure their neighborhoods remain safe. This is done by 1st Knowing Your Neighborhood, that is, knowing your neighbors (at least by 1st name), their children, a general idea of what vehicles they drive (along with their relatives and friends who frequent the area). 2nd by knowing your neighbors patterns or behaviors.
Take for example, if you have a young couple move in and they typically kick back on a Friday evening and imbibe with a few friends, say two weekends out of the month, this would represent a pattern or something you can count on. This is like watching your neighbor take their dog out every morning to let them do their natural thing on the lawn. Once you learn to recognize these things you should notice when something is out of the ordinary…maybe a car that doesn’t look right in your neighborhood or a people on foot taking special interest in the house that was foreclosed on or is empty. Once you see these things you can feel ‘empowered’ (to use a clique’) to ask these people to state their intentions. If they have not satisfied your intuition, then think about calling the police.
Other examples are if you notice a garage door open. If you know the neighbor you can gently remind them either by phone, person or even text messaging. This saves the Police from taking their time out going after the ‘bad people’ to stop for something that may be trivial by nature. I realize this approach may not be comfortable for everyone, but is has been proven to show that by having an active group in the neighborhood crime has dropped significantly. I also do know that the Raytown Police Department offers a type of course for those who wish to start up such a group.
I participate in the South Brooke Neighborhood Awareness Group (SNAG). We have taken an active role in taking turns driving the streets on nights to add an additional pair of eyes to the Police. Another lesser known role is that of Neighborhood coordinators.
SNAG tries to host at least a Spring and Fall Neighborhood cookout, where we invite our Aldermen, the Police, the Fire Department and our State Representative to attend. The whole intent is to get neighbors to get to know one another so we feel comfortable to talk to them if something seems out of the ordinary. My belief is if ALL the neighborhoods within Raytown functioned to some level of SNAG, Raytown would be a much safer City and our Public Safety team would be a much more efficient operation.