Much of the talk in recent days following the death of former City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris Sr. has centered around what to do about the Northwood Plaza, the shopping center where the robbery-turned-homicide occurred early Saturday morning. At an emergency meeting held in the Northeast District police station Tuesday night, many residents (and politicians) accused the management of the shopping center of failing to adequately protect the businesses and shoppers. The criticism was fierce, with many saying the security that patrols from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. is inadequate and that ownership had done "as little as possible, for as long as possible."
Still others felt the responsibility fell to the police, who they said do not patrol the area enough. And there was a smaller, albeit extremely hushed, minority that felt that Keith Covington, owner of the New Haven Lounge jazz club, had a responsibility to hire a doorman or private security, as his club is the only businesses in the center that is open past 9 p.m. Covington and his supporters were adamant that it was the responsibility of the shopping center and police to provide protection for his club.
"We've been neglected, and I cannot take this any longer. It's absolutely unacceptable," Covington said.
I'm interested to hear what readers think about this. On top of the city police, shopping center security, and any help Covington could possibly hire, Morgan State University police also patrol the area, as Morgan owns property in the complex. Who do you think should bear the burden of keeping the area safe?
While you ponder that question, here are some stats on the 46 robberies at the Northwood Plaza over the past nine years (note: a robbery of two people counts as two robberies; three victims represent three robberies, etc.)
-Four occurred at the shopping center's gas station; four occurred at a Domino's, and 22 were classified as occurring on the street, in the parking lot, or in an alley. Two have occurred at the New Haven Lounge, both in since July of this year, and a handful spread among other businesses
-Thirteen occurred roughly between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m.
-Eight occurred between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m.
-And 14 occurred between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., with the rest happening in between those times.