Crime in Selma: We must work together

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2003

Those words were addressed by Major James Perkins Jr. to members of the City Council at its Monday night meeting.

The mayor told council members that he had been inundated in recent weeks with telephone calls about crime in Selma. The citizens of Selma, it seems, are concerned for their very safety.

Perkins has responded to those concerns by scheduling a town hall meeting on crime at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Carl Morgan Convention Center. While we applaud the mayor for taking this extraordinary step, we can’t help but wonder why he chose to put off such a critically important meeting for an entire month.

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Citizens need to know that their government is responsive to their concerns. And few

concerns are more basic or more important than the need to feel safe and secure in our own homes and neighborhoods. Apparently, a growing number of Selmians no longer feel safe.

On Tuesday, another extraordinary meeting took place. A coalition of community groups held a press conference to call attention to the four young men who have been shot and killed or seriously wounded in Selma in recent weeks. The coalition felt the situation to be so extreme that it is urging the City Council and the Dallas County Commission to declare a &uot;state of emergency.&uot;

The coalition outlined a number of steps it planned to implement to combat the problem of crime in Selma. We welcome such citizen involvement. At the same time we urge those citizens and community groups to explore existing channels before fomenting their own solutions.

We do not know if these citizens are the same ones who have been inundating Mayor Perkins’ office with their concerns about crime. We hope they were, and we hope the mayor was responsive to those concerns.

Now is the time to work together.