Safety issues worry residents of Dover neighborhoods

DOVER — Councilman Roy Sudler Jr. said residents are still making a continuous effort to resolve safety issues at The Hamlet and the Elks Lodge at 217 N. Kirkwood St.

Residents of The Hamlet and surrounding areas addressed their concerns regarding aggressive panhandling, loitering in front of the shopping plaza and crime in their neighborhoods during a town meeting last year.

“The business owners and the residents are putting together a neighborhood watch program for The Hamlet,” Mr. Sudler said during the Council Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night.

Councilman Roy Sudler Jr.

Councilman Roy Sudler Jr.

The shopping center includes an M&T Bank, 7-Eleven store, a liquor outlet, two restaurants and a Dollar General store. There are two empty storefronts.

Since December 2014, police have investigated almost a dozen theft reports in the area and at least two major fights in the shopping center.

“We’re going to check back with them in three months to do a followup meeting to see if there has been an increase or decrease in activity there,” Mr. Sudler said.

Residents wanted more police presence and cameras in the area.

Mr. Sudler praised the Dover Police Department for their increased effort in patrolling the shopping center.

“I shop there quite often and some of the business owners said they’ve seen an increase in the police presence there,” Mr. Sudler said.

“When they park their vehicles and sit, that sometimes helps deter criminal activity there.”

In regard to the Elks Lodge, Mr. Sudler said residents have lost confidence in the lodge to provide adequate security and safety measures for the general well-being of the neighborhood.

“We’ve tried to reach out to the Dover Elks Lodge and they haven’t been able to come to a happy medium in regards of a soft approach to solving their concerns,” Mr. Sudler said.

Councilman David Anderson said it’s an unfortunate situation.

“We held a meeting where the residents spoke how they felt, as well as the owners of the establishment,” Mr. Anderson said.

“The idea was to work on a solution, but nothing has happened yet and that’s been a continuing problem.

“We’ve been trying to contact them — with negative results,” he added.

Mr. Sudler said he hopes to take steps to resolve the issue moving forward.

“There was a meeting at City Hall in February where we discussed various options regarding the matter,” Mr. Sudler said.

“We plan to discuss the current city ordinance and state adoption that will classify the Elks Lodge as a nuisance property.”

“Another meeting will be held next week on the issue,” he added.

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