Attack crime in Selma

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 22, 2006

All cities have some crime, it’s true, but Selma as of late, seems to have more than its share.

In the past week, we’ve seen a thief grab a Girl Scouts’ cookie money, a 96-year-old woman’s purse and several thefts of cash and tools.

Selma police have arrested a suspect in at least a couple of these cases. They also believe they are closing in on suspects in another case. But, still many local residents no longer feel safe in their community.

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Many metropolitan areas – much larger than Selma with much bigger crime problems – have fought back against crime and are winning the fight.

Some credit community based crime fighting with helping reduce crime rates in their cities.

In Selma, Police Chief Jimmy Martin said community involvement helped officers capture a suspect this week. That’s good news. Residents have to get involved if we’re going to make our city safer.

Just what is community policing? Some examples of what other communities are doing include Stamford, Conn., where school officers extend their role into running peer mediation programs and visiting at-risk homes in the evening.

In Brockton, Mass., the city put more officers on the streets.

In Massachusetts, there is also a state program called Safe Neighborhood Initiative – a coalition that partners community residents with local law enforcement agencies as well as human service organizations to solve problems.

We have to open the line of communication between the city police and the community. Put officers on a walking patrol of some neighborhoods so that they talk with the residents and know what’s going on. Put more officers on the streets.

Have town hall meetings so that residents feel they have a forum for their concerns.

Because a large percentage of crime is drug-related, attack that problem as well.

Let’s take an active role in reducing crime in Selma.