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Enhancements for HotSpots good idea for community

August 27, 1999

Acknowledging that some illegal drug trafficking has been forced out of Hagerstown's Jonathan Street corridor into other areas of the city, Carolyn W. Brooks this week said she'll soon apply for an "enhancement" of the state's HotSpots crime-fighting initiative, to chase the dealers even further. If this takes the community one step closer to shutting down the drug trade altogether, let's go for it.

Brooks, who's beginning her third year as coordinator of the program, said that all 36 communities in the state have been given the opportunity to apply for a variety of changes in the program, including enhancement, expansion or creation of a second HotSpot.

Brooks said that the crime statistics don't support creation of a second location here, but would back up an application for an enhancement grant for those areas of the existing HotSpots which haven't received the attention the Jonathan Street corridor has.

Areas like Public Square, Franklin and South Potomac Streets could qualify for additional help with items like youth prevention and/or community policing under the enhanced designation.

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If this sounds good, and it really seems like it might be, but there's a catch. Brooks and company must hold a public hearing, gather input and complete an application, all by Sept. 20. It can be done, but if you live in the area that would be affected, you've got to provide your input, and quickly.

That can be done at a public hearing set for this coming Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Frostburg State University Community Center on West Washington Street near Public Square. (location not confirmed)

During the meeting, there'll be a presentation of a draft of the enhancement plan and a discussion with residents, who Brooks said should come prepared to discuss positive ways to improve the neighborhood.

That means not coming to the meeting with complaints about what hasn't been done in the past. Time will be wasted if the meeting turns into a gripe session.

If you can't make it, send written comments (which must be signed) to Carolyn W. Brooks, HotSpot Coordinator, in care of the Hagerstown Police Dept., 50 N. Burhans Blvd., Hagerstown, Md., 21740, or fax them to Brooks at (301) 733-5513.

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