Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Message About Crime and Redevelopment

Crime rears its ugly head in different little "hot spots" of Columbia every now and then. The past few years have been fairly quiet. The mid to late 1990s were a different story. There was a lot more violent crime. The more well to do families flocked to River Hill causing white flight not seen since the blockbusting era. The real estate boom priced out a lot of the criminals who were causing a lot of the trouble hence Columbia being quieter lately. In 2003 there was a giant drug ring arrest that captured a couple dozen dealers which contributed to the calmness. A side note I went to Elementary, Middle, and High School with several of these dealers, many of them were years younger than me and I'm only 22. I was 19 in 2003 when these arrests occurred so you do the math.

April and May of 2007 have brought about two homicides in the same neighborhood. I also saw a blurb in the Howard County times about a meeting discussing gang activities in Oakland Mills. Now those of you who are from big cities thus sounds like nothing. Columbia has always and will always have residents who don't take these things lying down. Howard County has a very capable police force who can get all the funding they need to tackle these crime problems unlike other Maryland jurisdictions. There have been three homicides in Howard County in 2007 one was solved and then there are the two that occurred in the Hannibal Grove/711 area. I grew up in Vantage Point area which is just across Little Patuxent Parkway from Hannibal Grove and the 711. I have been robbed, assaulted, mugged, and jumped almost exclusively from residents of that area. They were a part of that drug ring I mentioned above. When it comes to bad areas of Columbia I don't stay away from them. Columbia is my once and future home and I'm not going to let a few rotten apples scare me away. Many hardened Columbia residents share my same sentiment. Columbia is not a "Stop Snitchin' " community.

Those who committed these two homicides will be identified that much I'm sure of. Whether an arrest will be made I'm not sure of. Lack of evidence may not allow an arrest to occur. As for the Hannibal Grove neighborhood I think it's at a crossroads. Many current residents are fed up and are going to move. Like I've said before many older Columbia rental complexes are in the redevelopment stage. I think it's time for Hannibal Grove to be knocked down and rebuilt. The new neighborhood will be garden apartments and town homes just like it is now. However, this time around it will contain a mixture of market rate home ownership, market rate rental, with a small number set aside for subsidized rental and home ownership. Bringing home owners to the area will create a sense of stability. The pedestrian bridge connecting Running Brook Elementary to the community will be torn down too, in its place will be a traffic light at Columbia Road and Brook Way and a crossing guard during school hours. It's a hot bed for crime and deals. I think a brand 711 should also be built. This new store should be next to the Running Brook Neighborhood Center and the current building should be turned into locker rooms for the pool. Running Brook pool will be completely redone to the likes of newer CA pools.

I think a brand new mixed income community will stabilize the community and Columbia as a whole. When it comes to redevelopment proposals in Columbia Hannibal Grove is just the tip of the iceberg.

*Just a little update they made an arrest in both cases the person committed both homicides. I knew they'd be caught but I didn't think one person was responsible. The next little problem brewing is possible gang activities in Oakland Mills and Long Reach. I'm confident this will be dealt with swiftly seeing as Columbia has always been able to keep crime under control in the past.

4 comments:

berto said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
a.Columbian said...

Awesome! We need more young people that think like you :]

Anonymous said...

I've read several postings on your blog and I'm impressed with your commitment to your community. That being said, my wife and I are considering a move and Columbia is one of the places on our list. I commuted to work there for several years but have only superficial knowledge of the area. We have a 3 year old and want to avoid troublesome areas. In your opinion, what are the less desirable areas (i.e. higher crime rates, older housing stock, etc.) Thanks for your help.

Spence said...

What type of house are you looking for? Columbia has such a large pallette of housing options that it's hard to break down what the best ones are unless you have a specific one in mind. I will answer your question as if you're looking for all of them. Some people might have their doubts about the schools but they're fine, I think they fear the growing cultural and economic diversity.

Vantage Point, older town homes in a safe low traffic location. You can get a good deal on one that hasn't been renovated. The renovated ones get a little pricey. I grew up in Vantage Point and attended the districted schools.

Phelps Luck, The closer to Route 108 and the further from Tamar Drive the better. It's a mix of older town homes and single family homes. Any home in Phelps Luck would need renovations if they haven't been done already. Phelps Luck Elementary is very crowded.

Hawthorn, Older Single Family Homes with a variety of styles and large town homes at good prices. Rental Apartments are also available

Clarys Forest, Housing of all kinds here from One bedroom condos to McMansions all loacted within a stone's throw of each other. People are kind of iffy about the schools here but they're fine.

Clemens Crossing, Single Family Homes built from the 1970s and into the 1990s. Sizes and prices vary.

Kendall Ridge, The newest section of Long Reach has a great mix of housing types and is close to major routes.

Owen Brown, Built in the 1970s and into the 1980s this village experienced mild gentrification in the early part of the century. Great houses great buys. Again a mix of housing options.

Running Brook, Single Family Homes Only

Dorsey's Search, One of Columbia's newest villages with a wide variety of housing options.

Bryant Woods/Faulkner Ridge, Not bad stay away from Bryant Square though. Other than that it's decent.

Jeffers Hill, The farther from Route 175, the better.

Swansfield, west of Cedar Lane Only. There are decent town homes east of Cedar Lane but they're close to some low income housing that has "spill over effects." It's very close to Howard County General Hospital so you might hear sirens.

Longfellow, The farther from Harpers Farm Road, the better.

Kings Contrivance, Perhaps the best Columbia has to offer.

River Hill, Lacks the diversity the rest of Columbia has.

Hobbits Glen, If you can afford it by all means.

Thunderhill, Like Running Brook

Stevens Forest, Farewell Road and Camelback Lane would be your best bet. Don't get too close to the Village Center.

Talbott Springs, Single Family Homes off of Wandering Way would be a great buy.

Locust Park, It needs intervention.