West Park Supervision To Be Hiked
In an effort"o curtí incidents I of crime and vandalism in the West Park area the city is increasing its policing and supervisión, the City Council was told last night. City Administrator Guy C. Larcom Jr. said the city is proceeding on two fronts. In addition to the increased policing, it is also attempting to provide more activities for youth to keep them off the streets. Extra efforts were needed, Larcom said, because of the low level of summer jobs available this year. One of the steps taken was to convert the West Park shelter into a type of community center to replace Jones School. "We've tried to have enough activity to keep young bodies active, Larcom said, "and we've also attempted to provide sufficient policing in the area." In addition to the regular Parks and Recreation Department staff at the park, Larcom said there will now be a Pólice Department sergeant, two patrolmen and up to six counselors at the park. Also, Larcom noted, there will now be two uniformed beat patrolmen walking the area at night. There will be another lieutenant assigned to carry through investigations of complaints, Larcom added. "It is my feeling and the Pólice Department's feeling that if we can get more supervisión and more lighting we can possibly exert more control," Larcom said. The city administrator noted that when the Slauson roller skating program ends about 10 p.m. most of the youngsters are dropped off at West Park, increasing the numbers there to about 100 youths. "This overI crowds it.'' Fifth Ward Councilman Lloyd Fairbanks suggested that the city close the West Park shelter earlier, 10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. He said often there are youths still in the shelter until 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. He also suggested that the Ann Arbor Community Center be used for more youth programs and relieve some of the pressure on West Park. Larcom said he would report further on these possibilities in the future. Pólice Chief Walter E. Krasny, responding to questions raised last week, said the closing of the shelter at this time "would result in greater problems than we currently have." On the charge that pólice ignored persons able to identify youths who tossed a molotov cocktail through a store window, Chief Krasny said the two subjects said they heard glass breakage and obser.ved a group of 20 to 25 Negro males of various ages running toward West Park. "The subjects did not observe the Windows being broken but were sure the group I of Negro males were responsible," Krasny quoted from the pólice report. Also, Krasny said "no specific steps have been initiated to send these young persons some place other than West Park. Since the parks are open to the public, it is virtually impossible to keep these youngsters out of I the park."
Ann Arbor News