Auto Thefts Spike in the City – Police Asks Residents to Take Caution

Auto theft is on rise in College Park

There has seen a spike of auto thefts yesterday in the city.

In just one day, Police reported a total of 12 thefts from vehicles.

In response to this sudden spike, the Prince George’s Police Department’s community liaison officer Ofc. Black is asking residents to take cautions.

He has sent the following auto theft safety and prevention tips.

* Make sure your car is lock at all times.
* Never leave your vehicle running while unattended.
* Always remove your keys while refueling.
* Keep all personal items, such as checkbook, personal identification, credit cards, purses, GPS’s, wallet and CD’s out of view.
* Always activate any anti-theft you have on your vehicle.
* Don’t hide spare keys in your car.
* Engrave your driver license number on stereos and car phone.
* Never leave high tech devices such as cellular phones, portables TV’s, and compact disc players visible.
* Always, Always, Always, Always report suspicious activity to the police.

College Park Tops in Solar Decathlon

Yesterday, the University of Maryland’s WaterShed team returned to first place at the Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in West Potomac Park.

Teams from 19 universities joined the competition.

“This was a big win in the architecture category, so hats off to Dean and his students, faculty, and staff for doing a great job” – said Darryll Pines, Dean and Farvardin Professor A. James Clark School of Engineering.

4 Things to Do When You Have a Noisy Neighbor

Noisy neighbor

[Council member Stephanie Stullich (Dist. 3) has put together this for those who face noise problems in their neighborhood.]

Now that the school year has started, I am hearing concerns from many residents about loud parties and other noise problems.  Please know that there are steps you can take to get relief.  College Park does have a strong noise ordinance and noise enforcement program, but it’s important for residents to understand how to use these resources most effectively.

In general, there are four things you can do.

1. Talk with your noisy neighbors and let them know that they are disturbing you.  Sometimes this may be sufficient and if your neighbors are responsive, this can get the quickest results.

2. Call the city Noise Enforcement Hotline (301-275-2466). This is usually more effective than calling the police, because city noise enforcement officers are more experienced in dealing with noise than is the typical police officer.  City noise officers can enforce the city noise ordinance, whereas police officers do not. City noise officers will request police backup if needed.

3. File a written complaint with the city’s Noise Control Board. This approach can be effective for those times when calling the noise hotline did not achieve a satisfactory result.  The Noise Board will hold a hearing and can issue fines if a violation is found.

4. Call the landlord. Landlords do have a responsibility to ensure that their rental houses are not causing problems for the neighborhood.  Phone numbers for most city landlords are available at www.collegeparkmd.gov/Rental_property.asp.

Read more »

Rhode Island – Edgewood Traffic Light Project to Complete Next Spring


Maureen Cissel and Dwight Joseph of the Prince George’s county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) was present at the last NCPCA meeting to update the traffic signal project at the Rhode Island / Edgewood road intersection.

Ms. Cissel said managing utility lines around the project area has been a challenge.

Project manager Mr. Joseph said the project started in late July this year and is anticipated to be finished by next spring with the street pavement completed in late April. He said in order to prepare for the construction work, traffic barriers have been put up and lanes have been shifted.

The pathway to Hollywood school has also been relocated in conjunction with extreme coordination with the school Principal. There will be some green spaces built surrounding sidewalks.

I’ll keep you posted as development progresses in the coming weeks at the intersection.

It’s an Exciting Time!

Election Sign on Edgewood Road (2009)

How fast time can fly?

Two years ago, I started this blog when I hit my neighborhood streets with a mission in mind – to reach out as many residents as possible, and talk to them one-on-one and find out the issues affecting them on a daily basis.

It was the council election in 2009.

Though  I came fairly close to make to the official winners’ list, the 2009 campaign gave me the unique opportunity to get a a sense of grass-root civic activism. Had I not been a candidate, I don’t think my neighbors would be so much interested in speaking to me and telling me the stories that affect them locally, every day.

Perhaps that sense of community activism drove me run this blog on a daily basis, even after the election was over. Since then, I have written nearly 750 posts, at least one everyday. I’m glad that I ran in 2009, and I’m even more happy that I’m trying that again in 2011.

After the news went out, I’ve been supported by many residents and neighbors, in particular from a few community leaders that I have deep respects for. They include our former two-term council member Mark Shroder, former NCPCA vice president and long term resident Bill Robertson, Hollywood resident and community blogger Joe smith, and the chief editor of the ReThinkCollegPark.net, David Daddio. Please see their comments on the sidebars. I’m extremely grateful to each one of them for their support and kind words. Their support mean a lot to me.

Will I make to the official winners’ list, this time? I don’t know. But what I know for sure, I’ll be having a lot of fun in the next few weeks by interacting with them one-on-one, leading to the Nov 8 election day. Call this an exciting time!

Crime Statistics Briefing

The Prince George’s Police Department’s (PGPD) District 1 commander Major Velez and the University of Maryland Police Chief Mitchell came over to the the council work session last week to present the crime statistics.


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School bus and Car Collide in North College Park

Six people were injured yesterday — including four elementary school children — when a car and a Prince George’s County school bus collided near College Park Friday, the Washington Post reports.

The crash occurred just before 4:30 p.m. at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Indian Lane, authorities said. Cpl. Evan Baxter, a Prince George’s County police spokesman, said the car, a Honda Civic, was headed south on Rhode Island Avenue when it T-boned the bus, which was driving across the road on Indian Lane.

Baxter said a man and a woman in the Civic sustained serious but not life threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital. He said four children, from Glenarden Elementary School, were also transported to the hospital as a “precautionary measure” after they complained of pain.

Baxter said at least initially, it seems the Civic had the right-of-way down Rhode Island, but officers were still on the scene investigating. At just after 5 p.m., he said Indian Lane was shut down and traffic on Rhode Island Avenue was slowed as vehicles made their way around the accident scene.

Is City-Wide Police Force Becoming More of a Reality?

The 'Other' College Park Police

For a long time, the issue of having our own police force in the city has been a source if emotional debate among city residents.

The residents who support a City-wide police think that having our own force will improve public safety. With a city-wide police force, our neighborhoods will be patrolled by a law enforcement entity who has its jurisdiction only within the city boundary. This is unlike the current situation, where the police that patrol our streets have a jurisdiction over a large area that stretches beyond College Park.

The opponents to the idea of having a City wide police force think that with a small city like ours having a fairly small tax base, it’s not quite practical to maintain our own police force, even if we manage to create one.

The debate thus boils down to one issue – its the spending factor. That factor is also debated on the ground of ever increasing budget that we spend on our contract police and the regular county police force (indirectly). That debate is fairly long and thus I’m not going to take that route in this post.

But something interesting is also happening, that might make the existence of our own police a reality.

And that has to do with an awesome initiative that the new University of Maryland President Dr. Loh has recently taken to make our city a great college town.

As I wrote earlier, Dr. Loh has made a few task forces to achieve just that. One of his task forces is assigned to improve city’s public safety to seek options, including the possibility of creating City’s own police force. Dr. Loh has tasked the safety group, chaired by the University Police Chief David Mitchell, with creating a plan to implement these goals. This Dimondback article says:

“One of the most important goals, Loh said, is increasing safety on the campus and in the surrounding city — including possibly creating a College Park police force, separate from both University Police and Prince George’s County Police. “

The task force has yet to make their final report available to the city wide residents, however what I find interesting is that instead of expanding UMd’s own police force, the task force has taken a path to create one independent force that goes beyond concurrent  jurisdiction of the university and the city.

The task forces have members from all level of local and State governments. Thus, can we assume that our new Police force will be funded by these governments too? Well, we can only find that out when the report comes out.

Whether we’ll be having our police, for some, the Diamondback piece is just a rumor. I asked a few City officials, and nobody seems to know anything about this.

District 2 council member Bob Catlin said, “I don’t know anything about it – so it is likely the Diamondback doesn’t have the story right.”

Mayor Fellows, who heads another task force on environment, had a similar reaction.

“That’s a good question, though I’m not sure the Diamondback reporter was accurate.  The report of the public safety has not come before the Mayor and City Council, and I’m sure we’d be asking the same question.” – told Mayor Fellows to me.

Cops Indicted in Student Beating

A grand jury indicted two Prince George’s County police officers Tuesday for allegedly beating a University of Maryland student during riots following a men’s basketball game in March 2010.

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced the indictments against Officers Reginald Baker and James Harrison on Tuesday afternoon. The officers are charged with first- and second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

September Experience and Enjoy College Park

Experience and Enjoy College Park

After a few months’ break (summer recess?), the “Experience and Enjoy College Park Tour” comes back.

This time the tour will stop by at the newly opened Mexican restaurant in north College Park, Azteca Restaurant and Cantina (9505 Baltimore Avenue).

Prince George’s County District One Police Commander Major Hector Velez will be the guest speaker at the event.

The tour has been created by city residents and local elected officials to get residents from across the city together once a month to promote shopping and eating locally. These monthly events are designed to build a sense of community and to allow residents to talk about local issues in a relaxed setting.

The event begins at 7:00 pm on Friday, September 30.

Come on out and support a NEW local restaurant, meet your fellow College Park residents, and find out what is happening locally with public safety. I’ve been to a few tour events in the past and enjoyed them enormously.

NCP Burglary Suspect Turns Himself to Police

Aljarreau Bolden

A suspect wanted in connection with a theft/burglary at the 4900 block of Niagara Rd in North College Park has turned himself in.

The suspect, Aljarreau Bolden has also been a suspect in multiple burglaries throughout College Park and surrounding counties. Bolden has addresses in Mt Rainer, Riverdale, and Glenarden. He is known to frequent College Park, Brentwood and Mt Rainer.

Police issued an an open warrant for 1st degree burglary in Prince Georges County. He was last seen operating a 1998 Chevrolet Lumina.

According to this Diamondback report, Bolden stole jewelry from three different homes this year in the Hollywood area. Police determined he had stolen at least $18,000 worth of jewelry but were unsure of how much money he received in return for selling the goods.

String of Sex Assaults Makes Students Fearful

A string of sexual assault incidents has the University of Maryland students rethinking their safety.

The latest incident occurred early Friday at around 3:30 a.m. at the Leonardtown Apartments.

According to police, the female student had just returned home after having drinks with friends. She got into bed and fell asleep. She awoke to find an unknown male in her bed touching her inappropriately. She screamed and the suspect immediately ran from the apartment.

There were no signs of forced entry to the apartment and all apartment keys were accounted for, police say.

The victim described the male as having curly hair and wearing a striped shirt.

Earlier, another incident occurred in an apartment building complex and the other in the 4700 block of College Avenue. Police said they were also investigating a potential third assault attempt on Rhode Island Avenue, WBAL-TV 11 News reporter Sheldon Dutes said.

Got Junk? Dump them Free

Got junk?

On October 1 and 8, from 7:30am to 12:00 noon, the City of College Park’s Public Works Yard at Davis Hall will be open to accept bulky trash drop-offs, electronics for recycling, and brush from residents.

City residents may drop off bulky trash, electronics for recycling, and yard waste; hazardous materials will not be accepted (shingles, propane tanks, paint, etc.). Air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigerators and freezers may incur a disposal fee; tires will incur a disposal fee of $4.00 each.

Donations also accepted! They will have two groups accepting your items that you no longer want or use:

  • Clothing, linens, books, toys and household items will be accepted by American Rescue Workers.
  • Building materials, gardening supplies, hardware, fixtures, flooring materials, tools, and landscaping supplies (surplus or salvaged in good, reusable condition) will be collected and donated to Community Forklift.

Donating these types of items keeps them out of the landfill, and you will receive a tax deduction form for the items you donate.

Please remember that to participate in the Saturday cleanup events, you must bring proof that you are a resident of the City of College Park.

Postal Trouble: The Tale of Yet Another Returned Mail

Yet another returned mail

In case the number of stories on returned mails by our north College Park Post Office is not enough to justify the case against our local postal delivery system’s irregular practices, let’s add this one too.

I mailed a book early last week to an address in Ohio via media mail, and duh! after 4 days, it came to the sender, that is me! The mail never reached its destination.

I guess the postal service did not see the word “From”, clearly written on top of my address.

Funny that, this incident happened just in the same week, when the Mayor and the Council requested a meeting with a U.S. Postal Service manager to discuss ongoing complaints from north College Park residents about alleged unreliable mail delivery and poor customer service at the Post Office at Baltimore Avenue and Hollywood Road.

The north College Park Citizens Association also discussed this matter early this year, after our newsletters returned to us, noting a vacancy as the reason, when they’ve known the residence was not empty.

Azteca Finally Opens Tonight

After a long wait, the Azteca Restaurant and Cantina will have a formal grand opening tonight.

The restaurant is located at 9505 Baltimore Avenue, opposite to the Honda dealer shop. It had a soft opening September 9th!

The hours of operation are  11am-11pm. In the NCPCA meeting more than a year ago (in January 2010), the restaurant owner told the residents that the shop could be open until 1 am, which caused some noise related concerns among local residents. There were also concerns on the amount of alcohol the restaurant would sell (45% of total sales).

For College Park residents, there is a special Deal –  they will take 20% off what you pay. The restaurant’s menu includes Sunday branch and Lunch Buffet during Mondays through Fridays.

Stop and check them out.

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