A young man is questioned by Lake Charles police officers on Clover Street Wednesday afternoon as part of the department's Zero-Tolerance on crime initiative in the Sunset Acres subdivision. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Clover Street Park has been closed due to criminal activity found in the Sunset Acres subdivision, authorities said. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:38 PM
Robberies, gunshots, loitering and other random crimes have residents in the Sunset Acres subdivision afraid for their safety.
As a result, the Lake Charles Police Department has begun a zero-tolerance initiative that will last until Sept. 24.
Police will issue tickets or arrest anyone caught breaking the law.
According to police crime statistics, the neighborhood — between Louisiana and Fifth avenues — has seen a 91 percent increase in crime compared with 2011.
Chief Don Dixon said police are now going to take a proactive approach to fix the situation.
“We are going to issue tickets to anyone who breaks a city or state law,” he said. “We’ve identified a problem and now we are going out to solve it.”
The American Press obtained a Police Department “operational plan” detailing the initiative.
“From Aug. 1 thru Sept. 10 there were 12 burglaries in this area. Police identified a group of young males walking the neighborhood starting at 1400 hours (2 p.m.) and continuing throughout the night time hours,” the report reads.
City officials have locked a park on Clover Street in response to the crime wave.
On Wednesday, the American Press visited several residents in the neighborhood to ask their opinions on the problem. Many would not speak, and those who did were not interested in being identified.
“A fence was put up to separate Clover Street from what used to be Johnson Hall,” said a resident on Clover Street. “Then they build a park at the end of the street. What do you think will happen? Kids go to the park and shoot craps. When the police come, they line the kids up and then let them go.”
The longtime Sunset Acres resident said his home was broken into earlier this week.
“There is a lot of traffic down here. I hear things in the back of my house,” he said.
Another Clover Street resident said gambling takes place at the park. He has been told that a gang called the Get Money Boys is responsible for a lot of the neighborhood’s problems.
“You see a lot of young males walking around. I must say that I do not really feel things are bad. This is a good mixed neighborhood,” he said. “But you have kids who are not working and are not doing anything.”
According to Dixon, the gang is active in south Lake Charles.
Sunset Acres is represented by District F City Councilman Dana Jackson, who said the police efforts are needed.
“We will take the streets back. The city will not let anybody control the streets,” he said.
Jackson said residents are not comfortable with talking publicly about the problems, but will make emergency calls to police.
“A lot of ladies live out there, and they can’t do anything to stop these people. I am glad the police have declared the neighborhood a no-tolerance zone.”
According to the Police Department’s operational plan, “officers will saturate the area and issue citations to all violators.”
Posted By: SUNSET ACRE RESIDENT On: 9/14/2012
Title: zero tolerance
I'M ALL FOR ZERO TOLERANCE, BUT AT WHOSE HAND. LAKE CHARLES CITY POLICE SAID THE WILL TAKE BACK OUR STREET,HA HA. PEOPLE LIVING IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ARE GETTING TICKETS FOR ANYTHING, IT'S NOT THE CRIME YOUR FIGHTING IT'S THE INNOCENT. I HAVE WITNESS SEVERAL INCIDENT IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAVE ME THINK WHO IS ABOVE THE LAW. LAKE CHARLE CITY POLICE WENT AT THIS ALL WRONG.... CURSING CITIZEN OF SUNSET ACRE, MISS HANDLING OUR YOUNG MEN ,AND WALIKNG IN PEOPLE YARD HARRASSING YOUNG MEN FOR NOTHING, IS THIS JUSTICE. I WAS TAUGHT TREAT PEOPLE WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT AN YOU WILL RECEIVE THE SAME. I WAS INFORMED BY THE POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT THERE WAS NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING, WHEN QUESTION OTHER NEIGHBORS NO ONE WAS AWARE OF NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH MEETING. PLEASE DON'T THINK THAT ALL OUR YOUNG MALES ARE BAD BECAUSE THEIR NOT,BUT IF YOU CURSE THEM FOR ASKING WHAT DID I DO OR I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING SO WHY ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME. TO LAKE CHARRLES CITY POLICE PLEASE HELP THE PROBLEM DON'T BECOME THE PROBLEM.