Perkins on town hall meeting: ‘These stories have to be told’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

This week’s town hall meeting on crime has been in the works for nearly two years. Mayor James Perkins Jr. isn’t going to wait any longer.

The town hall meeting on crime, called by Perkins, is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center, 211 Washington St.

According to Perkins, the reason for calling the meeting is to hear about the effects of crime from the people themselves.&uot; The crime statistics, financial reports, personnel turnover and low morale do not tell the human stories this issue is having on citizens, families and businesses,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;These stories have to be told by the people.&uot;

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According to statistics from the Uniformed Crime Reporting System, rapes in Selma increased from 22 to 32 from 2001 to 2002. Robberies rose from 60 to 97. Burglaries jumped from 540 to 840. Reports for 2003 are not yet available through the UCR system.

According to Perkins, everyone has a role to play with crime management.

It’s the Selma Police Department’s responsibility to lead Selma through the process of managing and controlling crime.

It’s the mayor’s responsibility to manage city government’s activities, which includes the police department.

It’s the City Council’s responsibility to appropriate funding needed to manage government and ensure spending is in line with ordinances and laws.

Perkins said he asked law enforcement officers to consider co-sponsoring a town hall meeting on crime about two years ago.

However, many didn’t agree with the proposal because of the concern it would turn into a &uot;beat up on law enforcement&uot; session, Perkins said.

The idea was put on the back burner at the time.

After a recent in-house review of crime data, Perkins said it became clear the issue could not remain on the back burner any longer.

The public, along with the council and law enforcement entities, are invited to Thursday’s town hall meeting.