Major crime hurts the local economy

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 13, 2002

Car dealerships and repair shops in the area of Jeff Davis Avenue and Broad Street have been hit hard recently by burglars.

These are unfortunate incidents and something we hope are not repeated. In one case, the burglars stole three cars. In our opinion, this is a major crime and we all need to be aware of the impact these types of crimes have on our lives.

When crimes of this magnitude occur to a business, it is similar to the announcement of local layoff or a business closing as it relates to the Selma-area economy. If a business is the victim of a major crime enough times, it will be financially unable to stay open and may close or relocate.

The cost of doing business increases with crime as things like insurance rates and the cost of security rise.

And you don’t see many nice stores in crime-ridden areas.

The threat of crime may also discourage future business from locating here. Presently, Selma is being looked at as a potential site for spin-off businesses seeking to supply the new Hyundai plant.

News like the car dealer break-ins is not what we need now.

Moreover, Selma is a retail trade hub for this region. Our shops and businesses need to be growing and healthy for Selma to attract out-of-town customers.

We think there are two actions that need to be taken as a response to these crimes. First, citizens who know anything about the crimes should come forward and render information to the police. To assist in this, area car dealers should pool together and offer a lucrative reward for information leading to an arrest.

Second, city council and the mayor need to announce and then execute an aggressive plan to rebuild Selma’s depleted police force. We simply need more officers.

Mayor Perkins and members of council have proven in the past they can be creative and swift in their actions. They need to act swiftly on the police force issue and fix our police force.