Remarks on crime series

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2006

To the Editor:

A reporter for The Selma Times-Journal called me last week for an interview about crime in Selma. Knowing that the newspaper would be reluctant to print all that had to say, I nevertheless participated, and I thank the newspaper for highlighting a real problem that exists.

A few days later the first article in a four part series appeared.

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The first article stated they would report on the local citizen’s perception of crime in the city and later report on the actual crime statistics.

I was thankful someone planned to compile a report on the level of criminal activity in Selma.

On Tuesday morning, the third article appeared based entirely on 2003 crime statistics.

The year is 2006!

Why did the newspaper dig back three years to compile a report on the horrible problem of crime in Selma in 2006?

Furthermore, the primary focus of the article is completely different from statements made by the Mayor at Monday night’s council meeting. I agree with the Mayor. He said Selma’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has ever been and that joblessness could no longer be an excuse for crime in Selma. Yet the newspaper said just the opposite in trying to draw a connection between the economy and crime.

There is also the obvious. The first article interviewed a businessman who said he didn’t have a crime problem because he took extra precaution and walked his female customers to their cars.

Why didn’t the newspaper ask the businessman why he thinks it necessary to escort women to their cars? Are we to believe the answer to the crime problem is for everyone to lock themselves in their homes and never come out?

There are hundreds of cities in the United States that have very little crime and no violent crime.

It is time for someone in city government to stand up and say, we are going to make Selma safe again for its citizens, no matter what it cost, and no matter who we have to hire or fire?

And to add insult to those wanting to solve the problem of crime in Selma, one recently elected official stated in the article that crime is actually down?

We are only three months removed from the end of 2005.

It takes almost a year before the previous year’s crime statistics are reported nationwide. We have the 2004 crime statistics compiled by the FBI.

Why did the newspaper go back and use statistics from 2003?

It is the criminal activity in this city in 2006 that has every informed citizen extremely concerned, not 2003.

And why report in percentages and ratios?

The Girl Scouts robbed, the college student raped, the lady attacked and robbed going to her doctor, the lady attacked, robbed, assaulted, and injured going into her home, the doctor’s home burglarized, the lady with a brick thrown through her car window driving down Dallas Avenue, the industrial executive robbed on Broad Street, the lady attacked, assaulted and robbed while visiting her daughter’s grave, and the lady attacked, assaulted and robbed leaving her hair dresser … those aren’t statistics, they are people victimized by an out of control crime infestation in Selma.

In 2004, Selma had 348 violent crimes and 2,530 property related crimes. You want to talk about cities our size in population?

In the same year, Talladega had 84 violent crimes, Scottsboro had 16, Ozark had 93, Madison (pop 34,303) had 63 violent crimes, Cullman had 15, Enterprise (pop. 22,004) had 33, Daphne had 23, Albertville (pop. 18,008) had 69, Athens (pop 20,000) has 18.

Please stop saying crime is a problem everywhere in this country.

It is not!

I’m thankful our mayor has taken two helpful first steps, organized a task force and called for a town hall meeting on April 3. There are some very tough issues to be confronted in Selma. We need an honest approach.

We need a factual approach.

It can be done, but it is going to take every law abiding citizen to help, and that means you and me.

Kincey Green