DENNIS CONTI ON CRIME ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Sunday, October 14, 2007


In response to CP's posting about The Capital's reporting on crime trends, Dennis Conti, a local political activist and former Executive Director of the Annapolis Housing Authority, sent a note to CP. While CP very much appreciates Dennis' letter and his efforts to research local crime, a task which he claims has not been made any easier by the Annapolis Police Department, CP does not completely agree with all of Dennis' comments and has responded directly to Dennis in that regard.

However, CP is in complete agreement with his final point, and in our conversations about crime, we know we are both committed to seeing that proper action is taken to understand and to fight crime in Annapolis. And now from Mr. Conti:

I just read your blog about today's article and have several comments (feel free to publish this):
1. Your comment about "people playing politics instead of public service"is very disappointing - if you don't call Trudy's being the volunteer (underline volunteer) chairman of HACA for five years, plus all the other volunteer efforts she has done as "public service," and my own involvement as a volunteer in trying to make Clay Street and other neighborhoods safer over the past 6 years a "public service," I don't know what is.

2. As I have tried to explain to you both in emails and in person (and maybe I haven't been clear, so let me try again): we make a distinction between"legal" public housing residents and those folks who illegally live in or are on public housing property, and have always said that it is the lattergroup causing most of the problems. For some reason, this distinction is difficult for people to believe or understand.
3. We have certainly never said or implied, as you state, that "HACA residents...are slightly less responsible for criminal activity than the overall city populace" since we believe that most of the serious crimes arecommitted by outsiders who are not part of the rest of the populace. The key problem we all face is finding ways of dealing with these "illegal"residents/outsiders hanging around public housing. As an aside, we have tried to get data from the police department on WHERE criminals are coming from, but have been unsuccessful.
(NOTE...actually, according to The Capital, Ms. McFall said, Ms. McFall said it was "dead wrong" to say residents of the city's public housing communities were responsible for most of the crime in the city. She said legal housing authority residents represent only 5 percent of the city's arrests, but represent 6.1 percent of the city's population.)

4. I have always welcomed a "scholarly" and "dispassionate" view of what we are presenting. Since all we are doing is plotting the City's own crime data and calculating percentage increases, no one as yet has disputed the facts. This is not rocket science that we are doing here.

5. Finally, let's all remember that it was the Mayor who, on Dec. 28 of last year, asked the public for help on crime and said: "Give me some ideas. What is it we're missing? Where are we missing the boat?"----Dennis


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