Cleanup will help fight crime

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 14, 2007

Gangs, drugs and other crime is no doubt a problem in Selma, as it is in every major city in the United States.

As some residents – and elected officials for that matter – find reasons to wring their hands or point fingers, a group of young men used rakes and paint brushes Friday to make a difference in the community.

As part of an effort to rid Selma’s streets of gangs, the Selma Police and Fire departments held Operation Cleanup on Keller Alley.

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Gang graffiti on the side of a dwelling was painted over by young men from the neighborhood.

The local residents also raked trash and empty bottles from adjacent lots and cleaned the area surrounding the house.

It took a couple of coats of paint to cover the gang graffiti and several trips to the dumpster, but no one seemed to mind the work.

Chief Jimmy Martin said the young men, reluctant at first to get involved, decided, “this is ours. Let’s clean it up.”

Martin added, “I wish other people would take the initiative.”

Operation Cleanup was a joint effort between the departments and the city’s TrustBuild project, which some have criticized.

That’s unfortunate. Because until more local residents get involved in the effort, we won’t see a reduction in crime in Selma.