People speak about crime at meeting

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

There may not have been 500 people at Selma’s second town hall meeting on crime, but there were enough to have their voices heard.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. held the first town hall meeting on crime Oct. 23. The Carl C. Morgan Convention Center was packed with citizens who heard from Perkins, Police Chief Robert Green and themselves.

The second town hall meeting on crime occurred Monday. Attendance was smaller, but a number of residents took their turns at the microphone to speak on issues ranging from crime to a detention center.

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Thounda Craig Sr. spoke about the city’s noise ordinance being broken, and repeated his request for 25 additional police officers.

Craig originally made the request at the Selma City Council’s Nov. 24 meeting.

Clyde Richardson, owner of Clyde’s Tornado Lounge & Ballroom, said Selma’s crime problem was linked to the city’s economy. &uot;The basic root of our problem is our economy,&uot; he said.

Richardson added that the city needed to look beyond its negative aspects. If prospective businesses only see negative news about Selma, he said, they will look elsewhere to locate.

Michael Jackson, a local attorney, said people had lost trust in the court system. &uot;We need to put pressure on those in power now,&uot; Jackson said. &uot;People have just lost faith in their system because it’s not exercising common sense.&uot;

Dallas County District Court Judge Nathaniel Walker noted that &uot;the wheels of justice turn slow.&uot; Judges have the power to set bonds, but when a court case moves to a different court, another judge can lower the bond.

Walker said the Selma area spends more than $300,000 each year by sending people to the Greensboro Detention Center. &uot;We need a center in Selma,&uot; Walker said. &uot;I think the district attorney, police chief and sheriff need to sit down and talk about cooperation.&uot;