Neighbor 2 Neighbor

Emma's Place Special Meeting 5/20

Important Information

The meeting held at the Maplewood Community Center Theatre was attended by aprox. 75 residents and aprox. 25 Administration (Emma's place staff ((EPS)), police and city officials). The meeting was held in an orderly fashion. Background and statistical information was given by EPS, Maplewood's Attorney and the police.

It was reported by police at the meeting that calls to 911 in Maplewood have only increased by 10%. The calls to Emma's Place were only 64 for the previous 10 months. He felt this was not an alarming number. He reported the store had no significant rise in problems in the immediate area and stated calls for the bread store have decreased. He also added they CAN NOT INFORM EPS of crimes committed by juveniles because of privacy laws and the problems MUST BE REPORTED TO EPS BY CITIZENS (police reports are still needed to get an accurate number of the increase in crime)! The Police Department has met with EPS to address concerns.

Maplewood's Attorney informed us of the property's zoning. He also spoke of the Conditional Use Permit that is renewed for the residence yearly.

Sherry Adams (EPS) addressed the attendees by informing us of many important facts: Emma's place is not transitional; families are able to stay there as long as they like to. The homes are limited to 4 children and their mother. Rules are in place and if violated repeatedly the resident will be asked to leave. 5 families have been removed to date. Security is not 24 hours, they are off duty at 4am. She welcomes calls to discuss any issues neighbors have with the residents.

Community's Concerns

Many neighbors addressed the meeting. One neighbor said her husband witnessed a child exit a school bus and retrieve a hidden gun and then go into a residence. The police were called but no gun was found in the residence. There were several parents complain of the problems children are having on the bus, in schools, in the neighborhood and at bus stops. Most of these problems go unreported because of the fear of retaliation. Several parents informed us that their children will not ride the bus. The parents have to drive their children. People have witnessed Emma's Place residents use/purchasing/selling drugs, using foul language and children being out after curfew.

Other problems in the neighborhood that have increased since the residence opened are: cars have been broken into, trespassing and harassment.

One neighbor spoke of two points that are included in the Conditional Use Permit that could be addressed when the permit was renewed. In order for the permit to be renewed, there will not be a decrease in property value or a negative change in the character of the community caused by the existence of Emma's Place.

A few citizens gave their opinion that crime has increased all over and that Emma's place was not the cause of all our problems. One of these citizens (A one year resident) who lives down by Edgerton Drive said crime has increased all over and "that's life". She is a captain of a neighborhood crime watch group in her area.

One former employee of Emma's place attempted to turn this from a crime issue into a race issue. The neighbors booed and retaliated by putting the meeting back on track with stating facts about the effects of Emma's place on the neighborhood. As one man stated " We have people of color in this neighborhood. This is a working class neighborhood. This is not about race. . . there are many races at Emma's place. This is not a black or white issue, it is about crime"

The mayor closed the meeting by informing his constituents he, the city council, city manager, staff and police understand this is a very important issue. The mayor offerd an invitation for anyone to call him to talk abou this issue one-to-one. This is very important . . .the city manager, staff and council take this very seriously and recognize something has to be done"

How do we measure sucess.

The citizens requested two changes to decrease crime/problems in the area: an off duty police officer as security and a decrease in the number of children per unit.

EPS have been working on obtaining an OD police officer but will not limit the number of children to a unit.

I will be requesting updates from Sherry Adams and the mayor to follow-up on changes attributed to this meeting.

Hopefully we will feel the changes by being more comfortable in our homes, yards and schools.

Please send us your thoughts, opinions or information so that we can share them with our neighbors.


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Posted by action on 05/20/2003
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