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ICAN Holds Organizational Meeting

By Floyd Miller



ICAN has reached out to the Stephenson Neighborhood Community to help them organize to fight crime and drugs in their neighborhood. About 40 members of the neighborhood, representatives of the Abilene Police Department and City of Abilene and ministers from across the city gathered to listen to problems and start stopping them. {{more}}An officer from the Abilene Police explained that there is often a disconnect between neighborhoods and the police. Neighborhoods worry about speeding, trash and unkept lawns, loud noise and mischief while the police really pay more attention to shootings, stabbings and drugs.A neighborhood member complained that their kids were only safe while in their own yards but not always and that some in the neighborhood let their children “just run around making too much noise at 4 AM. Another complained that cars were always coming into the neighborhood to shop for drugs and prostitutes.The police representative gave the steps needed to “let loose the hounds” which first and foremost had to be a phone call from a homeowner. They will have your phone number from caller ID but NEVER release that information. Next the Police have to have an informant make TWO buys and hopefully get into the house where the selling is taking place. Then they can get a warrant and “hit the house.” Their problem is that “the doers are back on the street the next AM.” It gets really hard if the home owner is doing the drugs and will not cooperate.Rev. Penn stated that one problem is these people pick on the elderly and handicapped. “If this occurs – call ICAN and we will help.” An audience member told those present that “the police and city can not do everything – it’s a community job. It’s up to you to stand up so your kids can play and the old folks can sit in their front yard.”The Police spokesman gave three points for action. 1. Most of the dealers do not live in this neighborhood – they just come here to work. 2. The police can not take action on reports or lists of license plates because under current laws, the police officer must see the illegal actions for themselves. 3. A written complaint that “a house is a nuisance” will enable the police to take action to abate the nuisance.The meeting closed with Rev. Penn assuring the crowd that ICAN will do an assessment for their neighborhood just as they did for the Carver Community to identify problems and find cures. He also reminded them that ACU has a program where students will volunteer to help clean up yards and trash in the neighborhood.

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