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Frazer, Police Brass Hear Out St. John Residents

Feb. 20, 2009 — Crime and quality of life issues topped the list of concerns St. John residents aired Friday when Police Department brass and Attorney General Vincent Frazer met with them at an open house at the Battery.
Several residents told Police Commissioner James McCall and his top St. Thomas/St. John District officials about two places in Cruz Bay they believe to be crack houses.
"I've called the police numerous times," Kate Norfleet said.
A restaurant manager said there was a steady stream of traffic from a nearby tent and plywood compound he believes is a crack house. He said his restaurant was broken into three or four times since October.
Frazer said if the crack houses are on private property, there's a limit to how far law enforcement can go. But St. John Administrator Leona Smith later said action will be taken to clean up the areas.
Coral Bay residents pressed their case for a police presence in the area. While police have said officers do patrol there, resident Kenneth Marsh said it takes an hour for them to get there when help is needed.
Marsh has a big issue with loud music coming from Island Blues Restaurant and Bar, located near his house. He said music sometimes plays until 3 or 4 a.m.
"And when I called the police to come by Island Blues, they didn't know where Island Blues was," Marsh said.
In addition to loud music from the bars, drivers with massive speakers in their rumbling "boom cars" also disturb the peace. Marsh said those drivers target his house because they know he calls the police.
Deputy Chief Darren Foy said he was going to personally go to Coral Bay to evaluate the situation.
James Penn asked the police to clean up the illegal parking at the corner by Julius E. Sprauve School. He said that cars parked in front of the school at the intersection make it hard from motorists to make the turn. McCall promised to put Foy on the matter.
Penn also said the Cruz Bay taxi stand was a "mess" at night.
"It's a free for all and the police don't do anything," he said.
At issue for some residents was the lack of directional signs at the Cruz Bay roundabout now under construction. Smith said that signs are in the works.
In response to a question from the audience, Foy said burglaries are the most predominant crime on St. John. And they're done by youths ages 18 to 23.
"Those that are committing them are guys who can run," McCall added.
Querrard suggested that St. John residents buy security systems and keep them in good working order.
While St. John residents had a slew of issues, the Police Department has one big one: no St. John residents will sign up to train as a police officer. Consequently, police must send officers from St. Thomas.
"It's bothering me," Querrard said.
This prompted Bonny Corbeil, a member of Crime Stoppers International organization who said she tried to find suitable police officer candidates, to point out that the department's poor reputation among St. John residents is a big deterrent.
"There was lots of neglect on the island for a long time," Corbeil said.
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