May 13, 2005
Trespassing is crime often overlooked by law enforcement, but now Charlottesville police are cracking down on trespassers one high crime area.
Tonsler Park is set in a well populated area of southeastern Charlottesville. Near the park is a wooded area measuring about 18-acres. This is definitely a huge area to be in a city, and often serves as a route of escape for criminals who traveled between the park and a neighboring apartment complex.
By putting a gate up, police hope to keep the bad elements outside the wooded area, and make the community safer.
"Over the past, we've had robberies, rapes, murders, and a lot of drug and alcohol abuse. We're trying to clean it up," explained Sergeant Paul Crawford of the Charlottesville Police Department.
The enforcement started January 1st, 2005 with about five officers patrolling the area after local property and business expressed concern about people cutting through.
"Things have slowed down," said Sgt. Crawford.
Now, 'No Trespassing' signs are in place. If someone is caught trespassing in the wooded area behind the park, they will face a class one misdemeanor with 12 months in prison, and up to a $2500 fine.