November 23, 2014

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National Night Out initiative a step to improve police, community relations in south Lorain

From left, Tim Carrion, Marcus Atkinson and the Rev. Angel Arroyo walk Tuesday along state Route 57 in Lorain, where they plan to host their first National Night Out against crime. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

From left, Tim Carrion, Marcus Atkinson and the Rev. Angel Arroyo walk Tuesday along state Route 57 in Lorain, where they plan to host their first National Night Out against crime. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

LORAIN — Four hours will not radically improve relations between south Lorain residents and police, but organizers of Lorain’s first participation in the National Night Out against crime Aug. 5 hope to make inroads.

The Rev. Angel Arroyo, Marcus Atkinson and Tim Carrion said they chose Pearl Street between East 28th and East 30th streets in south Lorain to hold the event not only because it is a vibrant part of Lorain, but also because it has been hurt by crime. With 10,335 police calls last year, south Lorain finished third in the Police Department’s five-district coverage area.

The neighborhood also has had several homicides in recent years. A community garden at the intersection of Pearl and East 29th is named after homicide victim Moises Velez, near where he was fatally shot in 2011. Two men were convicted in the killing.

Arroyo, of Dotcom Ministries, a small group that focuses on finding missing children, gang intervention and reducing recidivism, said two unsolved homicide victims were friends of his. By improving relations between police and residents, Arroyo hopes residents may provide police with tips to solve the homicides.

“A big thing about the National Night Out is filling the (communication) gap between the community and law enforcement,” said Arroyo, adding that he has taken part in National Night Out events in Boston, Cleveland and Providence, R.I. “This is the perfect opportunity.”

Police, who plan to take part in the event, said they have been trying to improve relations. The department held community meetings in each of the five districts earlier this year to expand outreach and give residents a better idea of crime in their neighborhoods, and how officers are fighting it.

Nonetheless, Atkinson and Carrion said police — who in April acquired a surplus armored vehicle from the military like the kind used in Iraq and Afghanistan — are seen by some as an occupying force, rather than a crime-fighting partner. Providing tips is seen by some residents as “snitching” on friends and neighbors.

“In this particular community, there’s a huge distrust of law enforcement,” said Atkinson, a community activist and promoter. “They grow up not wanting to be police officers and serve their community.”

Carrion, an insurance salesman and president of the Coalition on Hispanic/Latino Issues and Progress, said he hopes the event will lead to future initiatives. In addition to improving relations, Carrion said the event is a chance to salute police for a sometimes difficult and thankless job.

“Something like this allows us to come together as a community and truly show that we’re all on the same team,” he said. “We all have to do this together to make this place the best place possible.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

Crime Prevention

  • Aug. 5 will mark Lorain’s first year taking part in National Night Out, an initiative that seeks to reduce crime by fostering better relations between police and the public. The National Association of Town Watch began the event in 1984, the nonprofit group’s website reports. About 37.8 million people in more than 16,000 communities in Canada and the U.S. participate annually.
  • In Lorain, the event will include children’s activities, informational booths, music and speakers, organizers said. Groups scheduled to participate include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, LifeCare Ambulance, The Nord Center and Lorain Police. For more information, call the Rev. Angel Arroyo at (440) 258-3023 or Tim Carrion at (440) 258-9968.


  • Sis Delish

    ““A big thing about the National Night Out is filling the (communication) gap between the community and law enforcement,” said Arroyo, ”

    Se Hablo Espanol = Communication Gap.

    Living in Lorain, Ohio, U.S.A., its not the Police Department’s duty to learn Spanish. Come to think of it, its not the duty of the Government or its Citizens either… when that simple truth is learned by those enjoying the communications gap, then, the communications gap might be diminished, no?

    • Bob

      One of the smartest thing you have written.

    • oldruss

      American Citizens in many cases speak Spanish as their primary language, and many are taught throughout their school years in Spanish. In Puerto Rico (that’s an American territory, and everyone born on the Island is both a citizen of Puerto Rico AND a citizen of the United States) Spanish and English are both official languages.

      • Sis Delish

        Thankfully, this Page remains English.

        • oldruss

          The point is, and I’m relatively sure that you did understand it, is that there is no reason to disparage those who speak Spanish. The first Europeans to settle on the east coast (St. Augustine, Florida) spoke Spanish, as did most of the original Europeans in the Southwest and up the California coast (San Diego, San Clemente, El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles del Río de Porciúncula; Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, San Juan Capistrano, San Jose, San Francisco)

          • Sis Delish

            IN the grand scheme of local communications, the practices of 250 years or more ago are irrelevant.

          • oldruss

            You really must be deliberately missing the point. Citizens of the United States, born and raised in Puerto Rico, who moved here, yesterday even, or twenty years ago, may very well speak only Spanish, because that is what they speak at home, and Spanish is the language in which they were taught in school, and which they hear in their churches, etc. Just because someone speaks Spanish, TODAY, is no reason to disparage them.

          • Sis Delish

            I totally hold the position that English is the language of citizens of the U.S. of A.

            Scenario: All Highway Signs, under your concession to non-English Speaking residents, SHALL now be displayed in Both Languages so the infinitesimal percentage of the population of Lorain who cannot communicate in English, might be able to tell someone how to pick them up (street addresses/locations) to take them to the Welfare Office.

          • oldruss

            Do I have to repeat myself? Everyone born on the island of Puerto Rico IS a citizen of the “U.S. of A.”

            Why are you so disparaging of Citizens of the United States who speak Spanish?

          • Republican party Chp #3393

            So is your way of thinking, you know, bible first, country second, people third…

          • Sis Delish

            Nope. You’re new here, stick around, you’ll begin posting validly in no time at all.

          • Bob

            Um actually. The first people here in the country were native Indians. Let not forget who was here first.

            just saying.

          • oldruss

            Yes, and that is why in my earlier post I said, “The first Europeans . . . .” That said, I do not see how your comment about “native Indians” (sic) advances the discussion about citizens in Lorain speaking Spanish, and how that contributes to a “communication problem” with the LPD.

    • Republican party Chp #3393

      Anything else discussed at your clan meeting? Maybe you can talk to the voices in your head.

      • Sis Delish

        Oh Har, Har, Hardy, Har, Har. Brilliant stupidity.

  • SniperFire

    Is the racist group ‘La Raza’ going to participate?

    • Bob

      Haven’t you heard, only white people can be racist. It’s OK for every other race. LOL

  • golfingirl

    A worthy activity, however if criminals don’t have any respect for the law, a single night out will not change this.

    Good luck, I do hope it leads to something positive.

    • Bob

      The only thing this is going to do, is give all the criminals the night off of August 5th.

  • therest_ofthestory

    WHY is there a distrust in this neighborhood? What do they mean by “Communication Gap”? What responsibility do the inhabitants of the neighborhood have to helping secure their neighborhood? I’d be interested in hearing Mr. Carrion’s views on this.