Residents target violence in Marcy-Holmes neighborhood

Students are victims of 80 percent of the robberies in Marcy-Holmes.

Elizabeth Cook

Because of an increase in crime, including two robberies so far this month in University-area neighborhoods, Marcy-Holmes residents are trying to find solutions.

About 2 a.m. Saturday someone stole a woman’s purse near 14th Street Southeast and Fifth Avenue Southeast, said Greg Hestness, chief of police for the University.

Police recovered her purse and cell phone but didn’t find a suspect.

About 1:30 p.m. Monday a man was sitting in a friend’s apartment on Eighth Street Southeast when two unknown assailants came in. One demanded money while the other went through the man’s pockets and punched the victim in the head.

This Saturday marks the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association Safety and Livability Committee’s meeting at the First Congressional Church on Eighth Avenue Southeast. Participants can learn about crime trends and how to keep themselves safe.

Tom Lincoln, volunteer chairman of the safety and livability committee for the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association, said there always has been crime in the neighborhood, but not as severe or forced as it is now.

At the meeting, Lincoln said, they will discuss increases in rates of burglary, robbery, drug selling and aggressive panhandling.

Lincoln said panhandlers are coming up to front doors asking for money and becoming belligerent if refused.

There is a problem with noisy partying in the neighborhood, but that is not a main concern, Lincoln said.

The main concern based around the partying is drunk students become easy targets for crime in the neighborhood, Lincoln said.

He said 80 percent of robberies have happened to students.

Matt Hill, student liaison for the association, said he’s lived in the Marcy-Holmes area for three years, and this is the most crime he’s seen or heard about.

Hill encourages students to attend the meeting because they are the ones predominately affected by it.

“I think the statistics speak for themselves,” Hill said.

Hill wants students to be more aware of where they live.

The University also needs to get more involved in the neighborhoods because most students don’t live on campus, Hill said.

Hestness said that at the meeting they will discuss what University police can do to assist the 2nd Precinct neighborhoods this summer.

University police have been putting officers on robbery details, but can do it only when they have enough staff, he said.

Also, with summer coming, there are new trends and an increase in crimes for which police and the community need to be prepared, he said.