A resident of the Maple Leaf Park condominium development who sparked a township-wide discussion on crime when he spoke out at a council meeting in October says there are signs of improvement in the neighborhood spurred by the talk of new anti-crime ordinances under consideration by officials.
“’m encouraged, and I’ve talked to some other people and they’re encouraged,” said James Cancel, who has been a frequent participant at the meetings since bringing his concerns over crime in the development to the governing body earlier this fall. “They’ve gone and have started to tell people themselves that this is serious.”
The township council is currently considering a number of ordinances that will be aimed at reducing crime and improving the environment in Maple Leaf Park and other neighborhoods around town, especially those dominated by rental units. One of the measures being given consideration is an anti-crime ordinance that would allow landlords to quickly evict tenants who are suspected of engaging in criminal activity.
Business Administrator Joanne Bergin said last week that security cameras have been turned back on in Maple Leaf Park. The cameras, a representative from the development’s management company said at a meeting last month, had been off for months since a lightning strike disabled the system last summer. Though turned on, there was no indication that the management company had reversed a previous decision against having the cameras monitored by a security guard.
Cancel urged the council to act quickly in getting ordinances passed, saying that “there has been an impact” as the discussion has unfolded.
“We’re not just concerned about Maple Leaf, we’re concerned about all our communities,” said Councilwoman Marianna Pontoriero, explaining that ordinances must fit the town as a whole. “I keep getting calls about our crime rate. The plan is ultimately to have ordinances and a good working relationship between the management and the police force. The ultimate plan would be to do what we do best, which is to have ordinances in place to stop this from occurring in the future.”