As Annapolis faces the most violent year in recent history, residents of Eastport (primarily) are living on the edge and are asking for the City to do something about the increasing violence in the neighborhood.
The following is a copy of a letter sent to Annapolis Mayor, Mike Pantelides; Police Chief, Michael Pristoop; and Aldermen Kenny Kirby and Ross Arnett from Ward 8 resident, Jessica Pachler.
Chief Pristoop, Mayor Pantelides, Alderman Arnett, Alderman Kirby
Violent crime is at an all-time high in our neighborhood. We have had three shootings in less than a week and there has not been a single public statement made beyond the police report, not a single declaration of outrage or anger at the situation, just silence. Complete and total silence from every one of you. If three people were shot in less than a week downtown, or on the numbered streets of Eastport, or in West Annapolis, there would be outrage, anger, round the clock patrols and, most importantly, action. Is it because we are poorer over here? Or worse? Or do you just not really care that families are living in fear, homes are being hit by bullets, and that, one of these times, it will be an innocent victim? What will it take for you to act? To respond? Don’t tell me that it is safer now that it ever has been – I have lived here for 17 years and while the stats may say that, no one that lives here will agree. Don’t tell me that these are targeted and there is nothing you can do, or that I somehow should worry less. Minimizing them by calling them targeted minimizes the people being shot – it says they aren’t as worthy of your time as people who get shot and are not targeted. Diminishing them by calling them targeted ignores the risk to everyone around the shooters – these shooters are not sharpshooters. Every time they unload their guns there is a very real chance that someone not targeted will get hit by an errant bullet. It ignores the toll that living in fear of another shooting, targeted or not, takes on our community, on our children.
The fact that these ARE targeted shootings, that the shooters feel comfortable seeking out their targets in our neighborhood, is a huge problem. It says that Eastport is so lawless that they can freely come here, find their targets and shoot them because they know that there is no one around to stop them before they do it, and that they can do it in relative safety, without too much fear of getting caught. And it is not just Eastport.
This is a problem. it is a major problem. I know that our police officers are working hard to do what they can but without acknowledgment from the Chief that there is an actual problem, and that we are all at risk here – nothing will change. I know that you have made changes at HACA Mayor Pantelides and have been more proactive on this than previous administrations, but without continued and vocal public acknowledgment from you that you want an immediate stop to this, nothing will change. The deafening silence from both Aldermen this week is just wrong – though I do appreciate the personal call I received from Alderman Arnett after the first shooting on Saturday. But we need public statements of acknowledgment, public statements of concern, of action. It has to go beyond blaming HACA and waiting for them to get right. This is not a wait and see situation – this is a people with bullets in their homes situation. A people with bullets in their bodies situation. This is a we need an outcry from our government, standing up and saying they are going to protect us, to make things right, situation. We all know that change takes time, but we need to know that you are aware of and concerned by what is happening. We need you to publicly speak out, to take a stand against this ongoing situation.
We need a new vision, a new approach, a change. Because no one, no one, deserves to live in a situation like this, regardless of income level, housing, race, culture, etc. All of these incidents are taking place in the city of Annapolis and, regardless of who owns or manages the properties where it is happening, it is the City that is responsible for keeping our streets safe; for, as the APD mission says, preventing and controlling crime and preserving the quality of life in Annapolis through firm, fair, and impartial law enforcement strategies.
Please do something, before anyone else gets hurt. Please let us know you are going to do something. Please let us know you care.