Alarmed by Increasing Crime, Residents of Alderpoint Point to Heavy Drug Use and Lack of Law Enforcement Response
As the sinking sun cast a warm glow over the rolling hills about a half hour drive east of Garberville, a flurry of cars and trucks wound their way to the old school that serves as the Alderpoint Fire Department. This was the second meeting to try and reclaim the friendly town they remember growing up in.
About 30 adults showed up, the first ones there efficiently grabbing chairs and set them in a circle around an open carport. A large red tub filled with ice and soda was plunked down in the middle of the group and coffee was served inside the Fire Hall. The talk was of who was having grandbabies mingled with complaints about crime and the rough road until the meeting started. One group of residents related stories of crazy drivers and rough roads. Another group talked about an incident several weeks ago, when a man believed to have fatally shot another man several years ago fired at the deceased man’s son not far from the town’s gas pump. Law enforcement didn’t even show up until the next day, complained one woman.
When the meeting began, the problems listed on a white board quickly filled the space.
Among the problems named were:
- Abandoned cars
- Dumping garbage along roads
- Used needles where kids could play at the beach
- Crazy driving
- Raw sewage by a residence
- Drug hubs or homes
- Feeling as if they weren’t backed by law enforcement
As they talked about possible solutions, one person noted that they felt that law enforcement just wanted them to “take care of” the problem people themselves, but then, another person noted that times have changed.
“If we are reactive, good people are going to jail,” said a woman.
“There’s nothing you can do without the law backing you up,” a man said.
What are solutions then? someone asked.
The white board again began to fill this time more slowly.
Some of the possible solutions named were:
- Start a neighborhood watch
- Raising money to remove abandoned vehicles
- Figure out who is dumping needles, garbage, cars
- Refuse or reduce service to problematic people
- Do a KnockKnock–walk up to the homes of concern and express a willingness to help–help remove unwanted tenants, cars etc.
- Call County Health on homes with unsanitary conditions.
- Get Supervisor Estelle Fennell to hear concerns.
- Get county officials and law enforcement to take their issues seriously
- Elect a board to keep the group directed
- Fundraise to clean up messes
- Make calls to the Sheriff’s Office as needed
“We’ve seen some positive stuff since the last meeting,” one community member said. “We hear some of the [problem] people are leaving.”
After setting items to take action on, the meeting began to close. Then one woman pointed out to murmurs of agreement from the group that the way they were treated by people living out of the area was as if they were all bad people. But they loved their little town. “We’re proud to live here,” said the woman. She mentioned the superior school there and the volunteer fire department. The people who didn’t recognize the good in Alderpoint, she explained, were adding to the problem. “They’re trying to take our pride away.”
Then in the twilight, chatting and laughing with friends, family, and neighbors, almost every person folded their chair and put it away before heading home.