By Ernesto Guerrero II
On August 30, 2014, a town hall meeting was held in the community of North Park to address the recent string of attacks on women in the area. With the first dating back to early June, there have been a total of six attacks and each has been violent. Community members are scared to go out at night and are living in fear due to these attacks. Not only has the perpetrator avoided apprehension, but residents of North Park are feeling angry and helpless because of the lack of information given related to these attacks. Community members want answers and to be assured that steps are being made to keep the community safe and bring this criminal to justice.
NASW has been involved in raising awareness and voicing the communities concerns. The town hall meeting was facilitated by our region’s assistant director, Molly Zive. Among the attendees were Capt. David Nisleit of the North Park Police Department and City Council President Todd Gloria.
Residents of North Park who attended the meeting voiced their opinions and directly asked police for information. Capt. David Nisleit, along with the Chief of Police, was supportive and both did their best to answer questions and give information. One of the major issues that residents were concerned about was the poor lighting in the community, especially where the attacks took place. Council President Todd Gloria vowed to make that concern one of his top priorities. Residents also wanted further information on suspect description and attack patterns. Many concerns were addressed throughout the meeting.
Molly Zive transitioned the last part of the meeting in the direction of the community. Residents were given the opportunity to come up with strategies to make the community a safer place to live. Strategies such as keeping porch lights on and being aware of surroundings were talked about among community members. Resources to help raise awareness and be better equipped for situations such as these were also discussed during the meeting. There was a slight sense of relief in the room because community members were informed of all information known according to the police department and most importantly, their voices were being heard. The steps to making North Park safe again were being addressed.
Ernesto Guerrero II is the student liaison for NASW-CA from Cal State San Marcos. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.