Kennett Square neighborhood celebrates its turnaround
● By Lev
The East Linden Neighborhood in Kennett Square will mark its transformation as part of the National Night Out on Aug. 5. The celebration begins at 6 p.m. in the 300 block of Linden Lane.
In 2009, the five-square-block East Linden neighborhood north of State Street was the site of 53 disorderly conduct calls and 71 domestic incidents, called “crimes against families and children.” In 2013, there were three disorderly conducts and 17 domestic crimes.
According to Kennett Police Chief Ed Zunino, “The Carter CDC in the last ten years has managed to turn the tides on what was once a crime-ridden, illegal drug activity area to one of peaceful, law-abiding serenity and tranquility, for the most part. We needed the community to step up and say no to the thugs and drug dealers, and they did.”
National Night Out observances across the country attempt to “take back” areas affected by drugs and crime. Carter CDC executive director LaToya Myers said, “Our event is different because we’ve won the struggle and ended the open-air drug market that was so destructive to Kennett Square and southern Chester County. We know we can’t let up, and our celebration is a chance to re-dedicate ourselves to strengthening our neighborhood. Our young people shouldn’t have to live with street violence and dealing, and we work every day to make sure that crime doesn’t return to our at-risk community.”
As in past years, children and youth from the community are interacting with Kennett Square police officers in preparation for the event.
“Through tours, walk-alongs and interviews, kids see officers as people who care, and officers see children as partners in the community,” said Carter CDC board member Ethan Cramer. “It’s so easy for fear, mistrust, misunderstanding and suspicion to take hold in areas affected by crime. Our kids and our cops are part of the same community.”
In addition to the presentations by community children, community leaders and elected officials will be on hand to celebrate. Refreshments will follow, and children will gather signatures in a special event booklet that features photos of officers.
The Joseph & Sarah Carter Community Development Corporation, formerly the Historic East Linden Project, has worked for ten years to “improve the quality of life in the Historic East Linden Neighborhood and in southern Chester County.”