Knoxville concerned about crime, missing police


Knoxville residents, fed up with the crime in their neighborhood and the perceived lack of police presence and accountability, voiced their complaints at the July meeting of the 30th Ward Knoxville Block Watch.

The neighbors vented their frustrations with teenagers smoking marijuana out in the open on street corners, open drug sales, noisy and/or drunken teens, gangs congregating on street corners at all hours of the day and night, and neighbors fighting and arguing into the wee hours of the morning.

Residents questioned whether repeated calls to the same address for disturbances and drug sales are being monitored; What the Weed and Seed program is doing in the neighborhood; and, Why landlords aren't being notified when their rental properties have become nuisances.

One resident in attendance said she and her granddaughter were walking to her house when the shooting on Suncrest Street occurred on Father's Day. “We aren't even safe in bed,” another resident exclaimed after hearing about a bullet entering another woman's bedroom.

Block watch members reported two females knocking on neighbors' doors to see if anyone was home at the time. The women are suspects in a robbery in the 300 block of McKinley Avenue. It was reported the two women are also involved in open drug sales in the area.

Another neighbor reported that the police have been called to a house on Suncrest Street concerning a drunk 18 year old girl. The neighbor related that the girl's mother admitted to the police that she provided her daughter with alcohol because she would rather have the girl drink at home.

The neighbor said after at least three visits to the home because of loud arguments between mother and daughter the police declined to take action because of “officer's discretion.”

A local resident also warned that counterfeit $10 and $20 bills were being circulated in the area.

Other neighborhood concerns included the sighting of rats and raccoons in the area around the corner of Knox and Bausman. The rats were reported to be as “big as cats” and are a health concern to the elderly and small children in the neighborhood.

There were also complaints about the growing amount of high grass, weeds, litter and graffiti in the neighborhood, especially around abandoned and empty houses. They said in addition to posing a danger to neighboring homes, the shabby appearance gives the impression that the area has become lax and uncaring.

Bill Fry, aide to City Council President Gene Ricciardi, the only city representative in attendance at the meeting, tried to address some of the residents' complaints but was unable to identify a reason for the lack of police representation from Zone 3 station at the meeting.

He said if residents were concerned that the police were not responding to the complaints, not doing their jobs or were disrespectful of the complainants that they could contact the city's Office of Municipal Investigation.


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