Is there a crime problem at Prospect Park that I’m not aware of?

I wasn’t planning to post tonight, as I’m working feverishly on the MarkMaynard.com 3.0 relaunch, but I just noticed the following comment, left by a fellow calling himself SJH, and I thought that I should move it up here, to the front page. If you have thoughts on his comment, or, for that matter, thoughts on new functionality that you’d like see on the soon-to-be new and improved MarkMaynard.com, please leave a comment.

As for Prospect Park, I was just there on Monday with Clementine, and didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Then again, we were there at 11:30 AM, so the gangs may have been on their lunch break.

[note: The above comment by SJH was originally left in a thread entitled What do people really think of Ypsilanti, how might those opinions be reinforced by Ann Arbor media, and what can we do about it?.]

update: Here, with another perspective, is a comment left by a reader named Jonathan.

I play basketball regularly at Prospect Park, and I’ve never seen any violence. That said, things can get a little crazy there at times, especially evenings when there can be 20 people trying to play basketball on a single court. Yes, there is all sorts of foul language. Yes, kids occasionally smoke a j courtside. And yes, everybody calls me “white boy” with a hint of derision. But I’ve never felt threatened.

What’s happening on the tennis court actually is pretty cool, as teenagers have turned it into a serviceable skate park. I know other people were using it as a roller hockey rink, but there was rarely anybody there. The skate park, on the other hand, is packed almost every day with kids of all ages and races. Definitely something for Ypsi to be proud of.

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52 Comments

  1. Mr. X
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I’d like an animated Taters that pops up on my screen and screams all of his comments.

  2. kjc
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    man that sucks.

  3. Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    It sucks that I’m attempting to improve the site, or that new guy to the neighborhood was almost robbed?

  4. Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Or both.

  5. ubish
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I live in the prospect park area and have never felt anything but safe at prospect park. I usually go down there with the dogs or to play some roller hockey and haven’t ever had a problem nor had i noticed anything like that going on. Id give the place another chance sjh. I grew up in Ann arbor and its similar to the city parks there. Incidents happen but they are the exception not the rule.

  6. Sierra Madre
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    It’s possible given the things that can happen in any public space or at a cocktail party, but my guess is that it’s either a bit of revenge for your putting this Loonfeather comment on the front page, or it’s written by the same person who simply wants to discredit Ypsi area parks and/or public parks, in general.

    I’ve been to Prospect Park, literally, more than a thousand times. The worst thing that’s happened to me is I got stuck pushing someone else’s kid on a swing. But that was before the skaters turned the tennis courts into a skate park. I say blame the skaters.

  7. kjc
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    sucks someone almost got robbed.

    but yeah i’ve always felt safe around there.

  8. Croissant
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    The park has gone downhill since a rouge neighborhood group began “restoring” Luna Lake.

    For those who were confused why so many, including some dubious council members, would put so much effort into this glorified mud hole, you now have your answer. The crescent shaped pond is nothing more than a giant gang tag.

    That’s right. Luna Lake is a welcome mat to the Vicelords as seen through Google maps.

  9. Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I like the idea that this comment was left by someone with an axe to grind, or perhaps a developer looking to drive down property rates, but my sense is that the guy is legitimate. And that’s not to say that he didn’t perhaps misinterpret some of what he saw, or maybe even embellish a bit. I suppose either of those things could be true. But, as he left what appears to be a legitimate email address and name in the comment form, my sense is that he’s at least real.

  10. Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    As for Luna Lake, there wasn’t much water in it when I was there, but it was looking really lovely in spite of it. I think the neighborhood should be commended.

  11. Posted June 29, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s probably not the right place to mention this, but, speaking of the City’s parks, did you hear the awful news that a man drowned in Riverside Park yesterday while trying to retrieve his niece’s shoe?

  12. Mr. X
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I want to say something constructive and thoughtful on how the state of our local economy will almost surely lead to an increase in crime, and the obvious ramifications of having a smaller police force, but all I can think about is this clip from Arrested Development. I apologize in advance.

    http://www.ifc.com/videos/arrested-development-queen-for-a-day.php

  13. Croissant
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    He left essentially the same comment on Google, reviewing the park, under the name “Scruff McGruff.” Here’s what he said to Google reviews:

    Do not go to this park if you aren’t in a gang…. gangsters hang out on this park which is next to an elementary school and sell drugs and mug white people…sad to say but its a scary place, despite being in a wide open area near busy roads. Very dangerous park. I went one time and was mugged and was screamed racial threats not to hang out there.

    I find his comment extremely dubious because:

    a) I haven’t met many people who on the “first day” of their move go to “shoot hoops” to relax from unpacking.
    b) Leave a Google comment on June 27 then leave a comment here on an old post two days later. He seems to get robbed, mad and connected to local issues pretty damn quickly.
    c) I’ve never heard of anything like that at Prospect Park. The stars must be aligned. Someone posts a negative comment about Loon Feather Point. A few days later, someone new, named Scruff McGruff moves here, gangs rush in, “try” to rob him, he escapes to post to Google then here. It’s an amazing turn of events.

    I love that his Google review comment indicated that these gangs “mug white people.”

    If it wasn’t clear, my “Luna Lake draws gangs” was sarcastic. The “gangs” Prospect Park is overrun with are city council people and neighbors planting native species.

    The other thing these neighbors could now plant is comments about actual experiences in Prospect Park to Google reviews. And, do what I did, flag SJH’s bald faced lie.

  14. Bonnie
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    http://geodata.acad.emich.edu/Crime/Main.htm

    Prospect Park looks pretty calm. It’s actually also the playground for Adams, not merely Adams-adjacent, so between that and the neighborhood associations, it’s kept up well and safe as the dickens, generally speaking.

    Of course, that’s apart from the rouge gang Croissant mentioned, but from what I understand, they’re just really into accenting your cheekbones and facial structure in an attractive manner, so I don’t usually pay them any mind. I always feel pressured into buying something, though- it’s like a very specific Mary Kay sales pitch.

  15. Bonnie
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and that’s not to say that Prospect Park is sanitized. It’s not germ-free, or people-free, or dirt-free, or free of any of the normal inconveniences of everyday life. Sure, crime can happen there, just the same as crime can happen anywhere. I’m not saying that the incident mentioned by SJH didn’t happen, or couldn’t happen.

    I’m just saying that to the best of my knowledge, it’s not a regular occurrence.

  16. jonathan
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    I play basketball regularly at Prospect Park, and I’ve never seen any violence. That said, things can get a little crazy there at times, especially evenings when there can be 20 people trying to play basketball on a single court. Yes, there is all sorts of foul language. Yes, kids occasionally smoke a j courtside. And yes, everybody calls me “white boy” with a hint of derision. But I’ve never felt threatened.

    What’s happening on the tennis court actually is pretty cool, as teenagers have turned it into a serviceable skate park. I know other people were using it as a roller hockey rink, but there was rarely anybody there. The skate park, on the other hand, is packed almost every day with kids of all ages and races. Definitely something for Ypsi to be proud of.

  17. Edward
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t think that we can deny that, on occasion, bad things happen in our parks. People are robbed. Prostitutes do give blowjobs. We live in a city.

  18. Tom
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I live down the street from PP and we have never had any issues there. I also think that the skate park is really cool, and there is usually people using it.

    Though crime does exist. We also had someone break into our house while we were home in the evening last week, and another neighbor had someone break in during the day.

    The map also shows some crime in the area, but only has data from up to the end of May

  19. Bob Mossing
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I go to Prospect Park every night with my family. We have a 2 year old and a 10 year old. We walk or ride our bikes there with no fear of violence from gangs (or anyone else for that matter). Every Sunday, groups from surrounding neighborhoods, along with Pete Murdock and his wife, volunteer to clean the trash out of the park. Prospect Park is a great neighborhood park that is used by a lot of people. I have seen my fair share of things that have disappointed me at the park but it has never involved gangs or violence.

  20. Kristin
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    The shoe drowning was so sad. What am awful turn of events.

  21. Eel
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Ball shaving tutorial videos in the sidebar, and a monthly interactive feature where we can ask questions of EOS, who could appear behind a screen, with his voice altered. Also, a monthly sitcom featuring a dude on a Segway who think that he’s the Mayor.

  22. cmadler
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Regarding the interactive feature to question EOS, occasionally Tater should pop in and toss off a completely off-topic reply.

  23. Mr. X
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    It’s possible that both SJH and Jonathan encountered the exact same behavior, and just perceived it differently.

  24. EOS
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Mark,
    Do you think that you could set up questions where we can vote for alternative options? You know, like they have at aa.com. But let each person vote multiple times. That way, when I type subsequent comments, I can point to the poll of the day and claim at least dozen votes that agree with me.

  25. josh
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    >The shoe drowning was so sad.
    This is far funnier than it should be.

  26. Kim
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I feel terribly for the family of the man that died. How tragic. I can’t imagine the guilt the kid must have, especially if she threw the show down purposefully.

    Does anyone know if there’s something peculiar about the Huron that makes it so deadly. For a relatively slow moving river, it’s taken quite a few lives. And, if this should ever happen to me, are there strategies for dealing with the Huron’s currents?

    As for improvements to the site, I’d like for it to wash my ass like a Japanese robot.

  27. Ted
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    The place I won’t go with kids is Ann Arbor. Drug deals shoot each other in the street there. It’s truly horrifying.

    http://annarbor.com/news/crime/man-shot-wednesday-night-in-downtown-ann-arbor-during-drug-deal/?cmpid=NL_33_block_headline

  28. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    I once saw a ten-man brawl at the basketball court in Burns Park (for real). I’m never going to that gang-infested park again.

  29. Dirtgrain
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh, that was Burns Park in Ann Arbor.

  30. Chairman Meow
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    I did once have a rather disagreeable conversation there about Wittgenstein.

  31. cmadler
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised at AnnArbor.com’s headline for that story. After reading it, I figured they would have used “Ypsilanti man shot during drug deal”.

  32. kjc
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Disagreeableness always creeps into conversations about Wittgenstein.

  33. Eel
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    A guy with gold teeth came up to me in Prospect Park once, looked me square in the eye, and said, “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Mother Fucker!” The last thing I remember is getting hit upside the head with a book. I woke up a month later with no teeth.

  34. Posted July 1, 2011 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    To try to imply that somehow there is more violent crime in Ann Arbor, while fun, is absolutely ludicrous.

  35. Walt
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Ann Arbor is six times the size of Ypsilanti. Of course there is more violent crime there.

    Peter, don’t become the crime version of EOS who denies facts and logic.

  36. Smelly Tongues
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    There are definitely shady things going on in both Ypsi and Ann Arbor. Like another poster said, they’re cities…crime is going to happen. For the most part, I feel very safe in either city.
    I clicked on the link that Ted posted regarding the shooting in Ann Arbor. In the comments I found the following by an AnnArbor.com staff member:

    Comments that disparage Ypsilanti on the basis of an individual’s actions have been — and will continue to be — deleted. If you have an issue with this, you may leave a comment on our moderation thread — not here. http://www.annarbor.com/about/annarborcom-conversation-guidelines-comment-moderation/

    I thought that it was awesome that they did this. Ypsi gets a bad rap as it is…we don’t need our city getting blamed for things that happen elsewhere. Although I love Ann Arbor, Ypsi will always be home. What a great town.

  37. Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Exactly. There’s more people in Ann Arbor, but proportionally less crime. Ypsi is tiny, but it’s crime stats are way above the national averages. I addition, There are still less murders in Ann Arbor, even in absolute numbers.

    I realize it’s impolite to talk bad about Ypsi, but denying a crime problem doesn’t do much to make it any better.

    Here’s 2006, but it’s pretty clear:

    Latest 2006 Crimes per 100,000 People:
    Ann Arbor, MI Ypsilanti, MI National

    Murder: 0 18.4 7
    Forcible Rape: 28.32 59.69 32.2
    Robbery: 75.2 349 205.8
    Aggravated Assault: 200.9 849.5 336.5
    Burglary: 558.5 1639.3 813.2
    Larceny Theft: 1875.4 3733.1 2601.7
    Vehicle Theft: 153.1 578.6 501.5

  38. Mr. X
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I can’t decipher your numbers, Pete. Is that 28 trillion rapes?

    And is there any such thing as non-forcible rape?

  39. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Statutory. Or as its commonly known, Romeo and Juliet Rape. For the records, Rape isnt even used anymore, just degrees of CSC.

  40. Burt Reynolds
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Nevermind. That was probably rhetorical

    **slowly backs out of thread**

  41. kjc
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care if anyone talks badly about Ypsi. I’m just glad those people live elsewhere.

  42. Posted July 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    X: there are three columns. The first number is Ann Arbor, the second, Ypsi, and the third is the national average.

    I don’t dislike Ypsi. I do dislike people who deny problems exist, when in fact they do. I also dislike the snotty, adversarial attitude from people in Ypsi toward Ann Arbor, as if the only thing Ypsi has to offer is that it’s not Ann Arbor.

    Are people that shallow?

  43. kjc
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I lived in Ann Arbor for eight years when I first moved to MI. I never heard anything but shit talk about Ypsi. I can understand any defensiveness people from Ypsi might have.

    It’s no small thing to not be Ann Arbor though. haha. I couldn’t stand living there. Not a bad place to work though.

  44. zp
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I live 1 block from PP & go all the time. There are occasionally people smoking pot and some foul language on the court but that’s about it for agressive behavior.

    Are there gangs? I don’t think so. Just crawl around on the play structures or the shelter houses and look at the grafiti. It’s all “I love Tanya” and “Fuck You”. There’s no little Pitchfork symbols, “R.I.P”, or other ominous gang tagging.

    Aside from getting stuck pushing other people’s kids on the swings, the biggest scourge at the park is litter. Those little butterfly-shaped plastic bottle caps are everywhere and some of the people who barbeque just throw their trash on the ground. On a positive note, it seems to me that there are way fewer used condoms than there used to be. Seriously.

  45. Mr. X
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Why is it positive that kids aren’t using condoms any more? Do you think birth control is an affront to God?

  46. Mr. X
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    And that was a joke, just in case it wasn’t clear.

  47. James Madison
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Peter, you say,
    “X: there are three columns. The first number is Ann Arbor, the second, Ypsi, and the third is the national average.”, but your so-called columns are not columns, as your sets of three figures aren’t in a vertical row. Just 3 figures, spaced unevenly and damn hard to read, especially with decimal points in some but not all figures.

    I agree with your point, absolutely; but the data you present above don’t make the point and aren’t intelligible. A graph that can’t be grasped persuades not one.

  48. kjc
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    i agree. those numbers made no sense to me. but now that i’m reading them correctly, i see ypsi is super bad ass.

  49. dag on
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t dislike Peter Larson. I do dislike people who deny problems exist, when in fact they do. I also dislike the snotty, adversarial attitude from Peter Larson toward comments on markmaynard.com, as if the only thing Peter Larson has to offer is that he’s not them.

    Is Peter Larson that shallow?

  50. Croissant
    Posted July 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    People realize, really, that all of this discussion is from a fake incident by “Scruff McGruff.” I’m glad people care about the park, but seriously? Can SJH come forward and back his/her claim with some times/dates/specifics?

    I know shouting is impolite but “THIS NEVER HAPPENED.” Is it believable, at all, because it happened on a basketball court?

    If you care enough to comment here, comment on Google, too. (Thanks Brian!)

    If you want something else to talk about, I was in Whole Foods. I had just moved to Ann Arbor and my cupboards were bare. I was hungry. A bunch of hippy neo-nazi vegans approached me because I was buying tuna. They began to take all the food out of my cart and throw it at me calling me “dolphin killer.” They chased me from the store shooting sea salt in improvised shot guns. I would never take a kid to Whole Foods. Turns out I’ll have to drive far out of Ann Arbor just to buy groceries.

    Does the above strike you as absurd? Completely contrary to your lived reality? Why the fuck would you spend a second on crime dog’s tale and not get all up in arms on mine. Especially when mine is true. Whole Foods is a war zone filled with Aryan elites. I ain’t making that shit up.

  51. Timothy Trench
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    So, would anyone like to take a video camera into Prospect Park tonight and see if they can spot gang activity? I’ve scoped it out, and there’s a trashcan near the basketball court that you can hide in.

  52. joe stratton
    Posted October 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been hanging out at prospect park since I was 3 and I’ve never seen gangs there.. I’m 46 now.

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