Last Wednesday night, I attended a meeting of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood watch. It’s a monthly gathering where Frogtown residents sit for about an hour and discuss what’s happening around safety and crime in the area. Coffee was provided. We started with a brief introduction, where everyone would say their name and how long they’ve resided in Frogtown. Most of the attendees have lived there for twenty or more years; their endearment of the place was apparent.
For the first forty minutes, two officers from Northeast Community LAPD talked to residents about recent local crimes before fielding questions. There was a lively discussion about an incident the week prior that had officers pursuing suspects driving on the pedestrian/bike path. No one was injured, but some residents felt the decision to engage in a police chase on the pedestrian path was questionable.
You can read tweets about Frogtown, or articles in LA Weekly or other outlet, and that will give some impression of the neighborhood, but it’s a limited view. We get a clearer idea of who the people in the neighborhood are by hearing about the local guy stealing mail, seeing someone’s eyes beam as she talks about kid next door landing a college scholarship, or even learning about mundane municipal affairs. So that was one reason to attend the meeting: to see the place and see the people. It was also a chance for David De La Torre to introduce us and our project to the community. Which we did, briefly, mentioning the upcoming workshop and answering a few residents’ questions. They seemed receptive overall to a pedestrian/bike path intervention. If the first half of the meeting is any indication of how locals feel about this place (granted with much elbow grease), we can look forward to a nice turnout.