The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 15, 2013

Violence-Plagued Urban Neighborhood Feels Ignored in Gun Debate


Although Foster-El's death represented a low point for the community, it also spurred action. Through a federal program called Hope VI, East Capitol Dwellings, which was once the city's largest housing complex, was demolished. It was replaced with Capitol Gateway, a tidy community of cookie-cutter $300,000 townhouses and single-family houses.

"It is much more quiet," said Hamilton, who led the board of the area's community development corporation for 27 years. "They just made a complete sweep. The drug dealers used to hang out right here, and now you don't see them."

Hamilton credits the lower slaying rate in Capitol View's police district to redevelopment. (In the city as a whole, homicides dropped from 472 in 1990 to 242 in 2000 — and down to 88 last year.) Along with the new housing, the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization tackled some of the social problems in Ward 7, holding high school-diploma-equivalency and literacy courses and buying a strip mall to encourage business growth.

The police department has also tried new tactics, Contee said. After five men were gunned down in broad daylight in 2009, the department focused intensely on Clay Terrace, a housing complex in the Capitol View area. Two summers ago, the gun-recovery unit targeted illegal weapons. Plainclothes officers kept track of residents with known criminal histories. But they also took aim at blight, noting broken lights, the lack of hoops on the basketball court and weeds on the playground. Government agencies then fixed the problems. Crime, including gun deaths, dropped in half during the three months of intense policing, a tack replicated each summer, he said.

Officers also have built more trust than they had during the time of Foster-El's death. Contee receives anonymous text messages from residents when they hear gunfire or suspect a crime.

Text Only
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video