Downtown / Newtown
By Rodney Dial
June 02, 2008
Ketchikan has come a long way since the demise of the pulp mill
and it's exciting to see the improvements occurring in the downtown
and Newtown areas. If I could make a suggestion to our elected
officials it would be to keep a close eye on the image being
communicated to our visitors, especially during the weekend nights.
Most of us who have traveled to a new vacation spot did so because
of a positive experience reported by a family or friend. Word
of mouth is the best advertising that money can't buy, and when
a destination develops a bad reputation it becomes almost impossible
to overcome. Ask yourself how many people choose not to travel
to Israel, Egypt or even New Orleans due to concerns for their
My point is that all the efforts to make our community a prime
tourist destination will be for naught, if a visitor doesn't
feel safe walking down the street at night. Many living in Ketchikan
have no idea of what takes place in the Downtown / Newtown area
every Friday and Saturday night. Each weekend night starting
around 10 pm, and ending around 3 am, a host of lawlessness and
abhorrent behavior takes place.
Just this Friday from my commercial property in Newtown I observed
-Three street fights which blocked traffic on two occasions.
-People chasing others down the street screaming and cursing.
-At least one ambulance call to a local bar.
-Dozens, yes dozens, of drunks staggering down the street (Some
-Open drug use.
-KPD foot pursuit.
-Reckless driving, cars with blazing sub woofers that could be
heard a block away.
-One young lady who needed to vomit on the sidewalk, and another
who tired to urinate near a Newtown building but was pulled away
by their friend.
The one thing I didn't see last Friday night was the usual vandalism
of the cars and property in the area. This may be in part because
I have installed a six camera security system on my property.
Now instead of damaging vehicles, selected losers just walk by
flipping off the cameras. I'm sure the vandalism is still occurring,
it probably just moved down the street.
To the elected officials reading this; If you doubt this is happening
each weekend night you have an open invitation to watch the show
from my Newtown property (call me). It will give us time to discuss
the broken windows' theory. If your desire is for Ketchikan to
be as attractive as possible and maximize tourism then you need
to address this problem.
I would like to say that KPD is doing a commendable job trying
to control the weekend anarchy. Patrol cars can be seen frequently
patrolling this area, and even the Troopers are there as time
allows. However and unfortunately, KPD seems to have their hands
full and needs the help of our elected officials to keep our
community a safe, clean place to live and visit.
My suggestion to the City is to start a limited community service
patrol (CSP) on the weekends from 10 pm to 3 am. Reallocate three
of your crossing guard positions to this task, outfit them with
blaze orange security vests and a radio. Position one on each
side of the tunnel, and one near 1st City Saloon. Their presence
alone will prevent a significant amount of criminal activity.
For those not deterred from lawlessness, the CSP would be a set
of eyes for KPD and increase their effectiveness.
Increased security does not need to cost the community extra,
we just need to reallocate our resources to the best possible
uses. We will receive a far greater return on investment by employing
a few individuals to help maintain order, then we ever will with
crossing guards. Perhaps we need both, that is for our elected
officials to decide. I can only say that we are starting to lose
control of the downtown area on the weekends and it is negatively
affecting our community.
Received June 02, 2008 - Published
June 02, 2008
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