Scrappers, sliced tires, drug deals, and boom boxes
Last summer, businessman Rob Horvath complained that semi-trucks were illegally using Consaul Street in East Toledo’s Birmingham neighborhood.
Tuesday night at the Birmingham Library, residents told Toledo Police Chief Derrick Diggs that 18-wheel trucks are still finding their way down Consaul un-ticketed and often unnoticed by police.
“I can feel them go by,” said Father Frank Eckart, a co-founder of the Birmingham Development Foundation.
Resident John Halasz said, “You can lie on your couch and your (rear end) rattles from these things. I just wish your officers would address that. It’s horrible. It shatters your house.”
Father Eckart said there is a 6,000-pound load limit on Consaul, making it illegal for most 18-wheel trucks unless they are delivering.
Halasz says he sees the trucks heading down Consaul every time he walks his dog. Residents say they travel down Consaul, take a right on Wheeling, go up a hill to near where the Toledo water treatment plant is located, and usually turn before reaching Seaman.
Chief Diggs said he had a cruiser on Consaul for three to four hours Monday specifically to catch violators, and the unit found nothing.
“What I do know is I was told there may have been some violations but it was because of some construction, so they had to use the route the way it was, and when the construction was over, they had to go back to that route (Front Street),” Chief Diggs said. “I was told the problem was corrected, but what I’m hearing from you conflicts with what I’ve been told. I will have to check into that again.”
It was one issue among many brought to Chief Diggs’ attention. Others include iron scrappers stealing anything with value to make a quick buck, drug deals on street corners, illegal fireworks, loud parties with drinking, and cars driving down residential streets with stereo system “boom boxes” so loud, residents say their house vibrates.
One common theme — numerous residents reported seeing a black Cadillac Escalade involved in alleged drug deals across East Toledo. One woman said she saw the vehicle and the same two men on the same street corner, Barker and Consaul in Birmingham, five different times allegedly dealing drugs. A Garfield neighborhood resident had seen the same car.
Another resident spoke of fireworks — and not just July 4, but this winter, too. The resident said it was happening in the 400 block of Whitmore Street.
“They had to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, and with loud music and drinking,” the woman said. “At the corner, these fireworks — it’s like an explosive effect. I’m talking loud — it’s like the Fourth of July. What do you do? I call (the police) but by the time someone comes this guy his hiding in his home.”
Another common complaint is speeding vehicles on residential streets — especially at the four-way stop at Consaul and Wheeling. Residents say drivers ignore the stop sign and then drive fast to beat trains at a nearby railroad crossing.
“On Wheeling and Consaul, when a train goes through everybody races to go across before the train,” said one resident. “It’s just a common practice because there is nobody out there nailing these people.”
Bob Krompak, economic development specialist with NHS and an East Toledo resident, said he has caught intruders cutting away tires and stealing the rims for scrap. He wonders how the rims get sold to scrap dealers when they have a band of rubber still on them, indicating they have been stolen, and often the tires are left in alleys — where a homeowner could be fined for nuisance abatements.
One woman said she sees leftovers tires that have been cutaway in a nearby alley close to Genesee and Bakewell streets.
One man said, “I had my tires sliced last year. They picked up the kids that stole them that night. They punctured a bunch of them in the neighborhood. They said prosecutors will call me. I’m still waiting. I had to buy new tires, and would like to see if the kids are being prosecuted.”
Chief Diggs said he recently assigned seven new detectives, and one of them will be assigned specifically to deal with scrap metal investigations.
Residents say it is not always about the crime, but it is about the police reacting to it. They took issue with dispatchers, who residents say would ask them unwarranted questions instead of taking down information.
“We want to get that follow-up,” said Jodi Gross, an East Toledo resident. “We don’t get that call back. I’ll tell you my house was robbed a couple weeks ago, and I’ll tell you, I was not happy with the City of Toledo.”
Chief Diggs said, “I hear that all the time — a lot of times we fall through with the follow-up. That will improve. We’re so overwhelmed and we try to find ways to fight crime and not provide service.
“That’s the complaint I’ve heard numerous times,” continued the chief, who replaced the retiring Chief Mike Navarre last October. “My problem is this — I’m never going to have enough police officers. I’m not going to have enough cruisers — but I’m still responsible for the protection of the people of the City of Toledo. Part of my goal is to protect you, but also to provide service to you."