Efforts are taking shape to stop the bloodshed in Parkway Gardens after a shooting there Jan. 3 left a man dead.
We’ve seen this before: A fatal shooting at Parkway Gardens prompts community outreach aimed at stemming the tide of violence. Police increase patrols in the area, but eventually officers have to serve the greater community as well. Efforts within Parkway Gardens move in fits and starts.
Then, another fatal shooting occurs and the cycle begins anew.
Longtime Parkway Gardens resident Janice Eaton, in a report published on the front page, says she’s tired of the shootings, which she says are perpetrated by “hoodlums who don’t live here.” That may be true, but do people really believe that “hoodlums” are simply rolling up to Parkway Gardens to shoot people for no reason? What brought the outsiders to the Parkway Gardens enclave in the first place?
In the case of a March 7, 2012, shooting that left two people dead, it was a drug deal.
That fatal gunfight prompted a wide-ranging response that included meetings with police, city officials, clergy and interested people from across the community. Plans were developed to help make the community safer for those who live and visit there. That deadly gun battle led to a lawsuit that ultimately wrested control of the neighborhood from a foundering homeowners association and installed a receiver to help fast-track changes within the condominium complex.
It’s nearly two years later and once again the community is reeling from a fatal shooting at Parkway Gardens. This time a 21-year-old Fairfield man is dead. Police have yet to arrest those responsible for the shooting, in spite of the fact that there were, according to police, several witnesses.
It’s not like these are isolated incidents. Prior to the fatal Jan. 3 shooting there were at least two other shootings in December within Parkway Gardens, with one man injured in one of the shootings. A man was also shot there in mid-November.
The city and local police can only do so much to improve the situation.
Any plan to make Parkway Gardens a safe community rests in large part with the residents of Parkway Gardens and those who own property there. The property owners are the ones who need to have care when renting units, to monitor their tenants and to evict those who engage in criminal activity. The residents are the ones who need to report suspicious behavior and criminal activity to police. They also need to cooperate with authorities when crimes, such as the most-recent fatal shooting, occur there. Collectively, the owners and residents are the ones who need to ensure that the homeowners association is taking the steps necessary to improve safety within the community, through such things as better lighting and effective security patrols.
This all takes time, as Police Chief Walt Tibbet correctly notes. Until then, Parkway Gardens will remain a magnet for deady violence.