New neighborhood watch comes together fast to fight crime in Wareham community

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 30, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat From left: Brennan Ewell, Corey Tripp, Patrick Tripp, Carol Malonson, Craig Geddis and Emmett Geddis at a potluck cookout organized by the new Shangri-la and White Island Shores Neighborhood Watch. Tripp, Malonson and Geddis are all organizers of the new group, dedicated to reducing crime in the community.

Residents of Wareham’s “forgotten neighborhood” have banded together to combat crime and build a safe place for kids to play.

“We don’t want to be referred to as the pit, as the hole, anymore,” said Carol Malonson, an organizer of the new Shangri-la and White Island Shores Neighborhood Watch. “There are a lot of great people who live here. We’re being left to flounder and we’re tired of it.”

Located in the town’s rural northeast corner, the neighborhood consists of single-family homes and former summer cottages near Glen Charlie Pond.

Over the past two months, neighbors have organized the neighborhood watch via social media. So far, 253 people have joined the group’s Facebook page.

On Saturday, more than 100 people attended a cookout held at the ball field and playground located on Peaceful Lane designed to get the word out to more residents.

“We’re pushing to bring everybody back together,” said Corey Tripp, one of the organizers.

Tripp has lived in the neighborhood for roughly 32 years and has two kids, one 11 years old and the other 13 years old. A third organizer, Craig Geddis, moved to Shangri-la three years ago and has a 6-month-old child. Malonson has lived in the neighborhood for 20-plus years.

All said residents, ones who have lived there for decades and new ones with families, are ready to step up and make a change.

“We’re the forgotten neighborhood in town,” said Tripp. “We’re trying to make this a better place for everybody.”

According to the neighborhood watch organizers, that starts by addressing crime and the run-down playground, which hasn't had any work done since the late 1980s.

Malonson said drug activity in particular has been a problem, noting hypodermic needles and evidence of heroin activity are routinely seen.

“It’s been so blatant and in our faces day after day after day,” she said.

Part of the problem is the neighborhood’s location, she said, adding that makes it a target for criminals.

“Because we’re so isolated they feel like they can do whatever they want, whenever they want,” she said. “We feel powerless. You can call the police, but they’re so far away.”

On Saturday, 10 Wareham police officers attended the cookout to meet and mingle with residents. Malonson said all were appreciative of the support.

Regarding the playground, she said organizers are researching options to obtain Community Preservation Act funds to fix up the playground. The act is a Massachusetts law that allows participating cities and towns to adopt a real estate tax surcharge, supplemented by state matching funds in order to fund community projects.

“We don’t have a safe space for the kids to play,” said Geddis. “Addressing the playground and the crime go hand-in-hand.”

But Saturday was about bringing neighbors together over games and food, some of which was donated by Mezza Luna in Bourne.

“We have enough to feed an army,” said Malonson. “We are so grateful.”

Looking ahead, organizers said they will research forming a neighborhood association, meet with town leaders to address the playground and work with police on keeping the neighborhood safe.

“The more people we have, the louder we can get and the more effective we’ll be,” said Malonson.

 

From left: Lucy Wheeler, 6, Bella Bolarinho, 6, and Penny Wheeler, 2, sit in the shade during the cookout. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Craig Geddis serves food during the cookout. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Organizers are working to improve the neighborhood's playground in addition to reducing crime. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Comments (17)
Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 30, 2018 17:57

Building a stronger community through a variety of efforts...congratulations to everyone! What a wonderful way to begin the summer, and to contribute to the future.



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 01, 2018 08:32

Sounds like a GREAT start. Was this playground not included with the others? Congratulations and dont give up. And lights, plenty of lights, keep it bright. So these villains cant hang out in the dark. Maybe the other 40B Developer could donate lights and a new playground for this neighborhood.



Posted by: Phredzzz | Jul 02, 2018 14:31

Mr. Holmes: Please get your facts correct before making an illegitimate request and/or suggestion. Study after Study after Study conducted by Insurance companies and Large Security Firms indicate that the Installation of Lighting, even to the level of Daylight does nothing to deter Crime. All the Lighting in the world will not stop or deter the crime-rate in Wareham. Just ask the Police for data on what time of Day or Night most of the crime takes place. A Police Cruiser patrolling the neighborhood has the exact effect you are looking for. Lighting Not-So-Much! The only people that benefit from the extra lighting are the Electrical Companies. If however you would like to personally Pay the Electric Bill for any and all additional Lighting, just go ahead and do-so. It would be a wonderful public service for you to pay the extra Electric Lighting Bill for the Seniors who are on Fixed-income Social Security.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 02, 2018 16:36

Studies may in fact have shown that lights do not prevent crime. That claim seems somewhat valid because being brazen has proven to work lately.  Look at these folk that have been rolling TVs out the door at Walmart in plain view.  So yes, individual thieves may not be affected by lights.

 

The lights were suggested to deter hanging out in the park.  Not to deter crime.  Punks, villains, bad guys, or whatever they're called won't hang out in a well lit park.



Posted by: bruce gannon | Jul 02, 2018 17:09

ya know FRED … 1st Mr Holmes didn't cite any facts for you to dispute, so that's displaced hostility .. and calling a suggestion for lighting illegitimate, well that just doesn't even make sense …. and remind me to never hire a security firm that believes lighting does NOTHING to deter crime …. and a cruiser patrolling through a neighborhood once every 30 minutes? 60 minutes? leaves a lot of time for the rats to play in the dark … you challenged Mr Holmes to know some facts, statistics, seems you've offered some rather dubious opinions of your own.... now lighting may not prevent 100% of the possible crimes in an area but I suggest to say it does nothing is a bit of an over statement



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 03, 2018 08:17

My suggestion was my opinion that in a park that is lighted, a cruiser or other folks that the lighting would draw, people would feel safer to walk pets, gather for events in the evening, and the gathering of people and attention on the location, would not eliminate crime, but that it certainly would make it harder for villains to hang out. So I looked it up this morning and yes there are plenty of studies that suggest that effective lighting in parks and public areas does help to deter and reduce crime for some of the reasons I listed above. Lighting today can also be provided in a very cost effective manner, using technology like solar to operate the lights. Was I suggesting that lights alone would solve the entire problem? Of course not! But common sense tells me that, if the park is restored, and had the proper lighting. In the evening folks from this neighborhood and our town would come out with their kids and play or have gatherings, with people around I dont see a bunch of kids sitting on a picnic table or swings shooting heroin or spray painting the slides with folks all around them watching. Anyway it was just a suggestion but I doubt anyone is going to donate or build a playground and then leave it in the dark for these villains to destroy in the light of darkness.



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 03, 2018 08:20

A simple google search of parks lighting and crime will generate plenty of interesting reading.



Posted by: WWareham resident | Jul 03, 2018 08:24

Mr. Holmes, have you heard of this new technology called SOLAR? Yes, solar Street lights are available and have built in power supply so no electric bill needed  Just look at the side of the road on most every highway/interstate and you'll see solar powered lights, call boxes, signs etc.

I've never been to that neighborhood but I do know a few great people who live there and I'm willing to bet they're going to disagree with your comment 100%.

 

This is great to see the neighbors coming together. I'm not going to even illude to anything close to the level of crime in my neighborhood in West Wareham but we have no police presence unless they are called. They are never just driving by but when someone drives on our cul-de-sac all of us take notice if they don't belong here. I can say I believe that is one of the reasons no one close by has been broken into.

There does not seem to be drug houses by here but there is one guy in a gray early 2000's Dodge pickup that I've noticed on a number of occasions pulling into the lit off Papermill of town conservation land. He pulls in backs into a spot then a couple min later a random car pulls head in, window to window and 2 min later they're both pulling out of the lot. Making an assumption I'd say there is drug deals happening and it would be nice if an occasional cruiser drove by and witnessed this activity .



Posted by: WWareham resident | Jul 03, 2018 08:25

Sorry it should be pulled into the LOT not lit.



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 03, 2018 09:31

I may have read their story wrong. Seems to me from what I read, the neighborhood is tired of getting pushed around by villains and they want to improve their situation. So my suggestion of getting businesses and others to help them get a new upgraded playground, with sufficient lighting, and regular cruise patrols would be welcomed by the group. I have offered them my assistance and eagerly await their request. Not sure how they would disagree with that 100%. I not only have heard of solar, but was a leader for the Town of Wareham in getting the Town to the maximum levels of solar credits a town could receive. Crime is everywhere, unfortunately, and this group is trying to do something about it. And with help from many people they will be successful at reducing the level of crime in their neighborhood. I guess I'm confused as to how the group would be 100% against the suggestion of a new playground and improved lighting in their neighborhood???



Posted by: Phredzzz | Jul 03, 2018 15:11

To Mr. Gannon and Mr. Holmes. I probably went a little overboard with my contempt for just one more idea that ends up costing the Home owners/Taxpayers more money from their fixed income Social Security checks. I am not actually against the concept of a well-lit Park where people can walk and children can Play. However; I have been to several Planning Board meetings where Lighting Requests were rejected because there NEVER seems to be any money for Street-Lights in Wareham's neighborhoods. Some of these neighborhoods have existed for 30, 40, 50 and more years without one Nickel of the Towns money spent to improve the Street-Light situation. So, I think you can see that it is NOT as easy as a "Solar Solution" to just Light up a Park or even something as small as a Sidewalk. If it was as easy as others have indicated, then why hasn't the Town eliminated the thousands of existing Street-lights which cost the citizenry hundreds of thousands of dollars to operate and maintain every year ????? I don't think you, I, and others are so far apart on most of the issues. I just worry that Knee-Jerk reactions that are NOT well thought out, ALWAYS end up on the our doorstep and sucking money from the wallets of Wareham's Taxpayers.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jul 03, 2018 16:24

Steve - do you know if there is solar powered pole lighting available for areas such as playgrounds? And if yes, would that be something that a neighborhood organization such as this could seek as a donation from companies such as National Grid?



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 03, 2018 17:40

Andrea-I realize you asked Steve, but I have info on that.  Wareham has Eversource for their electricity and National Grid for their natural gas.  Eversource does not donate.  They provide incentives.  The best incentives are currently offered for LED pole lights when they are replacing wasteful metal halide.  Those are what’s common in parking lots, school grounds, etc.  Eversource also incentivizes new installations of LED in parks & such.  Pole lights that run on 100% solar are not as straightforward.  First there is the issue of storage.  The solar electricity generated by the sunlight needs to be stored in batteries large enough and powerful enough to provide bright light all night long.  The battery requirements are significant to offer such performance.  The batteries also need to be located on site, up in the pole, on the ground, in a little building, etc.  Plus the solar panels need to be located at each light or in one location as well.  There’s a lot of infrastructure.  That infrastructure costs money, requires maintenance, and is subject to vandalism.100% solar is great in concept but has hurdles that are sometimes prohibitive.  LED lighting uses very little electricity, is very bright, does not require batteries, does not require panels, and is heavily supported and incentivized by Eversource.  If it were up to me, I’d look into LED.  I can go on and on about it.  This is kind of my thing when I’m being a serious adult and not carrying on and being goofy on here...:).



Posted by: Phredzzz | Jul 03, 2018 19:27

WarehamBTS: Thanks for the excellent and easy to understand information. For those out there who have doubts about WBTS's info, I am a Massachusetts Certified Energy Auditor and I can confirm that his explanation is Valid. I also have another life when not being "Goofy" on here. For example, the Postings about Solar Displays along the State Highways are exactly what WBTS is speaking. Most of the newest ones  are LED Displays due to there low Wattage requirements and Bright, easy to view Numerals and Letters. The most current and available types of Solar applications are not Cost-Effective for illuminating large areas such as a Parking-Lot, Playground, or Roadways. It will eventually be a viable alternative, but for now we are stuck with the technology that was mentioned above from Wareham By The Sea.



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jul 03, 2018 20:08

Great answers. We are trying to get some lighting donated for the Gateway Baseball Group. I dont believe solar meets the national baseball standards yet, as most all the conversation has been around LED. My approach on this would be a joint effort for a couple of local businesses to work together and adopt the playground, to develop it and maintain it. For reasons stated above, if it gets built then the town has to cover cost it would fall apart, and that's not an insult to the town but they dont have the money or resources to properly develop and maintain it in the long run. The second Avenue and this is where we are on the ball field lights is to try to work with folks like Jason  V. former catcher for the sox and other alumni from the Cape Cod League to cover the cost through their Foundations. It's time consuming and alot of paperwork but we have a good connection there so hopefully we can make that happen. Again we are attempting to get the project and ongoing maintenance covered as the league barely has the funds to survive while still keeping the fees affordable for the kids that play. All we can do is our best. We are trying and we dont give up easy. Have a great ans safe 4th of July.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jul 06, 2018 08:42

Thanks Phredzzz!  I'm not used to getting positive feedback on here!



Posted by: bruce gannon | Jul 06, 2018 16:27

LED is an excellent suggestion. They can be expensive to purchase but over the life of the equipment the savings are significant. Low cost of operation and virtually never have to be replaced. There are numerous sources to help defray cost as been said a couple of times Eversource but there are others as well.



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