Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Vagrants And Panhandlers Now Endangering Elders And Disabled At Penn Branch Shops!

by Mel Dyer
In case you haven't been paying attention, CHARACTERS and panhandlers are hanging around our Shops At Penn Branch, now.
As they gather in number - I saw TWO pretty obnoxious ones, out there, tonight - they will create an environment that attracts criminal opportunists. Soon, the word will get out that it's OPEN SEASON on Branchers, ..as we stop to dig in our pockets, open purses, etc. They will create opportunities for intimidation, purse-snatchings, slightly more violent smash-n-grabs and straight-up ARMED ROBBERY, ..and right in the parking lot!

It all starts with a few harmless regulars (characters, we used to call them) hanging out front and in the lot, hustling a little change, harassing passersby, ogling women, dancing [I've seen it!], prostituting themselves, dealing or consuming drugs and, most importantly, ..distracting Branchers from paying attention to their personal safety.
Popping into the Shops At Penn Branch for milk and OJ won't so easy, when our sisters, daughters and mothers are forced to sort through all the characters - harmless ones vs. armed robbers - just to get inside the store. And yes, I've actually seen them DANCING, outside the store...flipping around like mackerel, on the walkway!
I will not pay our Shops At Penn Branch to disregard the safety of our disabled persons [My sister is one.] ..elders, women and children. Neglecting public safety is disrespectful of our community, and we should not tolerate or support it, with our business.
Is vagrancy tolerated by the 7-Eleven stores in Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase, Georgetown or Spring Valley? I've been to those stores, ..and I can tell you it is not. Are we worth any less, in Penn Branch or, for that matter, the rest of Capicostia*?
What's the big deal? Where's the harm done, here? The loitering is distracting us all from keeping ourselves and our families safe from potentially more violent crime. That's where the real harm is done.
Let's tell our Shops At Penn Branch proprietors to pay attention to what's going on outside their stores. Let's tell them to call the police, when they see loiterers and panhandlers, gathering. E-mails, tweets and text messages - WRITTEN complaints - make the most impact. Let's start out with friendly, neighborly suggestions, as is the way in Penn Branch, ..and see how it goes.
*Capicostia is a blogosphere nickname for what used to be ANC-7B, a region East-of-River and lying between Historic Anacostia and Capitol Hill and the DC/Maryland state line.