COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND (UMPD)
Now, if you do any type of traveling through the Mid-Atlantic and/or the Northeast region of the United States, you will or have seen a WAWA convenient store and gas station. These types of stores are definitely a huge help when you are on the road for a long time and need some refreshments to refuel your adventure. Even if you don’t know or never heard of a WAWA, if you know Paulin’s, Stewarts, Sheetz and Rucker’s they are all the same and pretty much stock the same items with a different layout and employees. Each store, of course, has its own signature mark, but they are all the same in the sense of their mission in serving the public. However, a store like this should not be your main source of problems for the police to always be around, and deal with damn foolishness.
Near the most problematic intersection, Knox Road and Baltimore Avenue (U.S. Rt. 1) just up the hill several feet was a convenient store named WAWA. It was located in the College Park Shopping Center with CVS, Domino’s, Boston Market, which disappeared, and Chipotle. This was indeed a huge blessing for us on patrol for a short while since it meant we didn’t have to reside ourselves to eating McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Burger King all the time. Of course, you could bring your lunch or dinner with you, but any officer who has done patrol in an urban or heavily populated area knows that is not always feasible. Nevertheless, a WAWA began out as a blessing, but quickly turned into a curse! I never knew one place; one store could be the main source of your problems in the city and neighboring areas.
Who would’ve known by having the WAWA removed from the area, our service calls dropped liked nearly 50%!! Yes! 50%!! This particular WAWA brought out the most ghetto acting and idiotic individuals you could possibly see! You know what?! This was located in the heart of Prince George’s County, Maryland, the supposedly the richest county for black people. However, it was mostly black people that ruined it for the store, but some other races aren’t blame free either in this. Most of our gun calls, shots fired, fights and parking lot brawls involved black people. Most of our shoplifting, urinating in public and urinating inside the store, eating food without purchasing and disturbances were committed by white people. Whenever we dealt with Knox and 1 being out of control, it was usually a mixture of both races getting into fights, breaking shit and causing traffic jams.
I’ve been inside the WAWA numerous times when I would patrol at night and catch someone trying to walk out with a bottle of Gatorade, chips rustling around in the purse or pockets and whatever else they could fit on their persons without paying! Throughout the midst of this mad chaos that was nearly a nightly basis; the staff there was just overwhelmed, but nice people. It got so bad that we offered to work overtime and do security for the store, but we were turned down; even though the store was bleeding money of about $30,000 a quarter!! Yes!! Thirty thousand dollars a quarter!! Still WAWA wanted nothing to do with store security, but never gave their employees a chance to succeed, which I think the corporate probably regretted the idea of having one there and waited for it to fail. If that was the case, then they got what they wanted!
Several think that our huge spike in armed and strong armed robberies were influenced by the attractiveness of WAWA, and the type of people it just attracted. While it was there I did get involved with one of the female employees there, but that was definitely short lived when I slept with her one time, and all that was a mistake. For nearly every single morning, even when I wasn’t scheduled to work that day, she would call my job looking for me, and got to the point where the dispatchers knew who she was just by the sound of her voice. Sometimes she would call around the same time every damn morning, and I finally gave her my cell phone number to stop calling my job, but she still kept doing it. Quickly I discovered this was a crazy bitch, and that I needed to get rid of her with the quickness. So one night on my way home, I heard my cell phone ring and it was her, Joy was her name, and just laid into her, “Stop calling me, stop calling my job and just leave me the fuck alone! Unless you have an emergency, a police emergency, do not call my cell phone or my job! You could’ve been friends with benefits, but you fucked that up!!”
Needless to say after that interaction with her, she disappeared and I never saw her again, and shortly after that the WAWA left the area. This WAWA just jacked everything up for us, and we knew that Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays would be the Wild West! It got to the point that the 7-Eleven across the street was getting the brunt of the problems. I can’t tell you how many times we had to break up gatherings of people hanging in front of the WAWA, which was 24/7, and most of them would head across Knox Road to the 7-Eleven and fuck that store up. I mean, things were just all around out of control with that WAWA store being in the area, and almost as quickly as it began when the WAWA officially closed down and left the city, our service calls dropped like the ball on New Year’s Eve. It was absolutely amazing how things became calm once that store left and took all of the negativity with it, the nice employees and good food! Once again we were stuck with our usual food choices at night, which included Taco Bell and later on a Royal Farms. But, if you thought our problems were over, you would need to think again! Building more student housing and with talk about extending Metro through campus just brought more wretchedness.
Wait until I get into the Black Student Union socials! Oh my goodness! Our WAWA problems all over again in a more condensed area! Stay tuned for that one!